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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gosford Park

Gosford Park (2001)

Writer: Julian Fellowes
Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Kelly Macdonald, Ryan Phillipe, Helen Mirren, and almost any other british actor you can think of....and Bob Balaban

A slow-boiling murder mystery set in early 20th Century British upper-class society.  Includes a fair amount of that "upstairs/downstairs" thing of which we Colonists have very little knowledge.

The Woman
this was good. i think i would have enjoyed much more if it had not been interrupted by really stinky thick black  smoke cloud emanating from our basement, followed by three days of stink and furnace and hotel stayage drama. this is not the kind of movie one could only distractedly pay attention to and start and stop several times. there is a cast of hundreds, and it took awhile to figure out what was going on. despite the unfond circumstance under which this was viewed and now associated, there was quite the good movie underneath there. i guess i'm a sucker for any british period piece. i can admit it. especially now that my head has been turned by julian fellowes for "downton abbey" i would imbibe that shit full strength. anytime.

have i discussed this movie? sort of. you gotta pay attention. hundreds of characters. lots going on. stephen fry's character was a stand out, i must say. he was sort of the rock that bludgeoned the message of the movie into your brains. even if it sent skull fragments into your now brain pudding, it was done in an excellent way. you might even have said thank you. who needed that frontal lobe anyway.

This is good.  Direction serves the plot well without continually jumping out of the trench and aiming at the Gerries.  The average of the acting here is above average, so you get a couple of people who fall below the line by a bit (I'm looking at you, Phillippeeeee) and while it's hard to climb above it,  one breakdown in particular truly wrenched at my heart.

I haven't yet watched Downton Abbey or its predecessor or any number of similar things, but I understand that this is similar in style, tone, and even substance.  I don't think that's a detriment, as I am fascinated by this world; and it seems a pretty fertile field from which to reap some great stories.

Speaking of the story, it does that slow boil in a very good way.  The movie is something like 70% setup, 5% crime, 25% comedown.  Even though that distribution doesn't give us much of a chance to figure out the murder before the characters do, it's necessary for us to understand it at all.  And understanding it is worthwhile.

Best Worst Movie

Best Worst Movie (2009)

Director: Michael Stephenson

a documentary on "troll 2" by the kid who was in "troll 2" twenty years later.

This is a docu mentary in the strictest sense.  It's a chronicling of a series of events.  While the film has the point of view that Troll 2 is an awesomely bad viewing experience, that's not a conclusion for which it aims to slowly build a case but the point on which the tripod is placed.

Within those parameters, it's a fine movie.  It tends to repeat itself; and it doesn't give equal screen time to those who took the film seriously, which leads to a fair amount of repetition through the runtime.  (Nor does it give any real time to those who disagree with its appraisal as "the best worst movie.) How many times do we have to see dentist-so-nice-even-his-ex-wife-says-he's-great walk onto a stage to the applause of a couple hundred college kids?

You would get more vitriol from me if I disagreed with the premise, but I don't.  Troll 2 is an entertaining piece of cinema in spite of itself and this documentary is a fitting love letter thereto.

The Woman
i greatly enjoyed "troll 2" i do believe it is the best worst movie. this was a good and entertaining look at the what's up with the cast nowadays, and a chance to see that i am not alone in my feelings towards "troll 2". the stories of viewings similar to mine, since it came out on HBO in my target demographic days. the beginning of this documentary was really quite funny, but then, of course, you get into the middle-ish end-ish where it begins to drag, and the subject matter becomes a little more serious, when the flash in the pan cultdom kind of dies down and everybody's expectations are dragged back down to earth. it's totally true that a movie like "troll 2" couldn't have possibly been made on purpose. circumstances like that give us disappointments like "snakes on a plane" or just campiness for camp's sake, like "killer tongue". i'm glad that almost everybody involved in "troll 2" recognizes it's terrible, and amazingly badness, and embraces the hoakyness in what they were involved in, and it was great to get a kind of behind the scene documentary out of it. i loved the remaking of scenes 20 years later, with all the same enthusiasm from the actors, and george hardy seems like a really neat guy. and i guess that's all i have to say about that. i would recommend a screening of this if you dig "troll 2", heck, maybe if you haven't seen "troll 2". hey, you should totally watch "troll 2" because it's aaaaaaaaammmmazing!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Delay in Posting

Our traditional holiday viewing of the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy (on our new fancy shmancy ridiculon tv with the fancy pants blu ray) will put a slight pause on our postings of our netflix queue. we know you understand.  oh yes, we know you understand. the precious makes us understand.

you could nag moster too. he has three postings he must finish... don't tell him i told you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood (2011)

Writer: David "Johnson"
Director: Catherine "Hardwicke"
Starring: see synopsis

a werewolf terrorizes a small medieval village of daggarstrom or something like that. murder mystery party! amand seyfried plays the town beauty, crossed eyed guy plays the sketchy guy who is obviously the werewolf...or is he!, other dude plays the wealthy betrothed blacksmith... lucas haas plays the poor mislead guy,  virginia madsen plays the gold digging wife/mother, the guy who plays bella's dad in twilight is the poor lied to father, and gary oldman plays the bad guy who isn't really the bad, bad, guy. he's just evil. which character do you want to play? they all have secrets and most of them come out except for the only true innocent, the town simpleton who you know is going to be dead by the hour mark at least. i forgot to mention the love triangle. there's a love triangle between cross-eyed outsider, and wealthy blacksmith kid.

The Woman
this was HORRENDOUS! seriously and laughably. it was like a lifetime movie writer/plot with a big budget made by a person who loved kung fu movies as a pre teen. the direction was so ridiculous, there were these long zooms onto peoples faces that lingered too long, and all i could think of was parodies of shaw brothers movies. i almost laughed out loud several times, but then realized the effort put into this and stifled it. there were a couple of guffaws that did escape, however. and there was voice over almost pitch perfect with "twilight"

bad, bad, bad. and not in the good way either. in a strange indescribable way it was boring too.

ok, so here's the thing. there is this way messed up undertone of some serious messed upness. turns out the werewolf is her father. being the favorite child, who everyone loves best, but who dreams of more, her father wants to take her to blossom somewhere else, like a big city or something. she says that she could never kill people and feast on them and stuff, and  kills her dad with the cut off hand of gary oldman that has his special manicure of silver pointy nails. but, not before daddy has tussled with her true love of sketchy cross eyed guy...and guess what. daddums bit that poor cross-eyed guy. oh no! but she couldn't possibly kill her true love, even though she just killed her father. it's different. she has the strong urge to have dealing with the penis of cross-eyed guy. so she let's him leave to train himself in the werewolf arts, and waits for him to return to her. last shot is of the werewolf in wolfy form appearing from the dark forest and she gets this penis lovin' smile on, and all i could think of was....yeah. so, all in all she would rather kill her father who offers her a better life than give up some wolf weiner.
who could kill those cross-eyes?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Are the Night

We Are the Night (2010)

Writer: Jan Berger, Dennis Gansel
Director: Dennis Gansel
Starring: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich, Anna Fischer

the leader chick of a vampire chick trio decides to bring another chick into the fold. the newbie is a pick pocket cruddy JD.

The Woman
ok. #1. it was dubbed. what the fuck netflix? seriously? #2 the dubbing was horrible and distracting. #3 IT WAS FUCKING DUBBED! i didn't realized movies were still dubbed in this contemporary planet of higher intelligence. if you don't want to watch subtitles why choose to watch a foreign movie? maybe it was done as insulting way to get the kids involved since this whole vampire thing has taken a ridiculous turn? i don't know. you could perhaps broaden the minds of the young and introduce them to foreign cinema with fad-like topics like this and then not dub them? maybe? i shouldn't complain too much because this wasn't even a good movie. but come on. and this is the last i'll say about it: why are voice actors in dubbed movies the worst actors in the entire universe? get some real experienced people who work on cartoons for a living or something. jesus. it's not like their translating german while recording.

like i said in the midst of my complaining. this wasn't really a good movie. there was a lot lacking in character development. i couldn't believe it was almost over. i felt like 'was that all?' it came off as a sort of cheap action movie with just no substance. these were vampire chicks who had been alive for centuries. that implies a lot of stuff behind the curtains, but this was a ll surface. if we got anything at all about a past it was delivered as a one liner, and then dropped. this, with the 9 hour opening of showing these chicks in photos and portraiture throughout civilization. lame. i was disappointed to say the least. and the ending was terrible. but it was a german movie, afterall.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Best and the Brightest

The Best and the Brightest (2010)

Writer: Josh Shelov, Michael Jaeger
Director: Josh Shelov
Starring: Bonnie Sommerville, Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Sedaris

a woman bent on getting her 5 year old into a good manhattan school tells the head mistress of one of those schools that her husband is a poet. hijinx- a print out of a friend's sexting gets mistaken for the poetry. hijinx.

The Woman
i really want to like this one, but i pause because there is issue. the main character is a horrible person. she wants to hang with the cool kids so desperately, and yet, she sees how horrible they are and doesn't care. supposedly, it's all for the good of her daughter because it's all about getting her into a good kindergarten, because public school is presented as a fate worse than the fiery bowels of satan who happens to be going through a flare up of IBS. what i'm about to say may sound horrible, but i would rather have my kid hang out with the non-psychotic and "stupid", than deal with the nonsense of upper crust manhattan. so i deluded myself throughout this entire film thinking she would see the light and the grossness behavior of the people in position that was mocked through the entire movie and realize it's not about whatever elite school her kid gets into because her kid is awesome the way she is. whether it be manhatten or delaware...nope. perhaps maybe she'll realize that her goal is all about her and not her child? no. maybe she'll see how miserable her family is scraping by in the city? no. whatever.

the actual naughty sexting turned poetry was mildly funny, because, truly. it was kind of poetic. but meh.

the only ray of light in this is amy sedaris. she bangs it out of mediocre and makes me want to like this movie despite it's incredible faults. seriously, she's awesome. if you are into her, watch this movie. just ignore the movie part. you could even fast forward through all the other scenes. it was nice to see that the really funny white chick from "in living color" is still alive too. yeah, i spotted you. i thought you were the bomb when i was 11. i should probably go check now to see if i'm right...please, of course i am. another shout out to an actress i haven't seen in awhile: the cold hearted bitch head mistress of the school ann shirley teaches at in "ann of avonlea" guess what she plays in this? the cold hearted bitch head mistress. who's on first? exactly. have i begun to ramble? i have a ton of holiday cards to go fill...i can't sit here and ramble. wonder pets is on so i only have a half hour left before i have to start cooking dinner.

final thought jerry springer style: if you need an amy sedaris fix to warm the cockles of your super caustic and sarcastic soul, you may want to expose yourself to this. if not, not even the presence of the NPH could save this movie.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Moon (2009)
Written by Duncan Jones, Nathan  Parker
Directed by Duncan Jones
Starring Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey

A lone man works supporting automated hydrogen gathering devices at a moon base.

The Woman
i highly enjoyed this movie. the subject of unoriginal plots has been coming up a lot for me lately so this was an excellent break of uniqueness. it mostly keeps the viewer guessing of which sci-fi plot has been ripped off here, and i was in suspense at the end. i will not say more because to talk about this movie may ruin it.

It's hard to write about this one.  It is quite good. It is original, and while it was easy to figure out many of the elements of the story it wasn't until very near the end that the entire picture came into focus. The story continually takes old tropes of SciFi and turns them on their ears.  Within the context of the story, everything makes sense, and it ekes along the line between SF and true SciFi.

Sam Rockwell was perfectly cast. He has just the right level of range and talent to express the kinds of craziness inherent in a long-term assignment with only a robot to keep him company.  Similarly, Kevin Spacey does everything possible as the voice of the robot.

Story-technically, this is right where it should be. Things move slowly in space and they act differently in microgravity.  Everything in the environment where he works has a function; nothing is superfluous.  Space suits are inherently clumsy, and vacuum doesn't happen immediately.  Film-technically, this was complicated to film and it worked very well.  Tension in close quarters, coupled with the instability of the Rockwell character, came together perfectly.  Impatience is palpable in this presentation.

Hollywood should make more movies like this. It was excellent and it must have cost about $15M.  This is a solid, high 4.  I recommend it highly and strenuously.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)

Writer: Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer, Tiziano Sclavi (comic)
Director: KevinMunroe
Starring: superman 3.0 as the only human, yet still gigantically ripped and Sam Huntington

the human in charge of keeping all sorts of undeadkind in line but not anymore, comes out of "retirement" when he takes on the case of a human murdered by a werewolf.

The Woman
this was truly bad. just bad. it brought back memories of the first "hellboy" or "dick tracy" in their badness/boring level and such rich potential and source material. i've never read the comic of this, but it failed as an hour and a half movie. there was just too much there and it came off as rushed and yet totally boring at the same time. i watched this in two installments because naptime has seriously decreased in its duration, and i actually forgot all about it at bath time/bedtime (my next free spot of time) and only realized 10 minutes into naptime the next day that i still had 45 minutes left. that doesn't bode well at all. i could have walked away, never finished it, and been completely alright with that outcome.

the plot itself was totally unoriginal and predictable down to the double cross at the end. the main character didn't even defeat the big bad. some werewolf who had one scene and one line did. a glorified walk-on. the main character wasn't even in the same scene when this hard defeat was achieved. also, i didn't understand why, if this dylan dog is just human how he could get thrown two stories and get up to continue fighting a huge winged black demon that used to be the reason why stella got her groove back. merely a fleshwound!  and i would like to comment on the total wussy big bad with the gigantic weakness of being tied into this realm by a human with hordes of the undead with super human powers around. kill the meek human, and the demon that means to kill all the undead dies too. amazing that the battle lasted a mere 2 minutes. amazing that all the undead wanted this thing that would bring fear to their kind for as long as it takes to rip a jugular.

lastly, the comedy came off as so desperate in it's attempt to be funny that it was not funny at all.  liggity lame. i'd rather watch "daybreakers" 10 times. and i hate ethan hawke.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Slasher (2004)

Director: John Landis

a documentary about a guy that gets hired by car dealerships to get rid of their old stock in one gigantic super sale weekend.

I feel like there should have been more context here.  I know it's a doc, but the stakes weren't really there and there was no conflict to speak of.  The way the sales are run and how prices are determined is interesting in that "not surprising but still disgusting/annoying" way.  I do like how they showed customer dissatisfaction on multiple levels, but those were much more in the customers of the dealership rather than the customers of the "slasher."

John Landis did a really good documentary about Don Rickles; this one was nothing compared to that.

The Woman
meh. this was interesting, but forgettable. the slasher himself, was kind of a total stereotype of used car salesman which was sort of amusing. there was also an interesting parallel that developed between his services and used cars. meaning you pay a lot more and expect a lot more than you should.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Owning Mahowny

Owning Mahowny (2003)

Writer: Gary Steven Ross (book), Muarice Chauvet (screenplay),
Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Starring: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt

This is the hypothetically true story of a Canadian banker who scams millions of dollars out of his bank and uses those dollars to gamble recklessly.

The Woman
for some reason movies about gambling addiction really bother me to the point where i just don't want to watch them. this was no exception. it was good, i guess, but i just have problems watching someone shoot down the tube of that downward spiral at the speed of light. i'll give a shout out to john hurt. his character kind of saved this movie for me. philip seymour hoffman did good as usual, but it's just not my bag.

This is a movie about desperation as much as it is about addiction; and it succeeds within those parameters.  Even without the title card and early scene in the interrogation room, it's clear from about three minutes in that this is not the sort of movie where the protagonist will miraculously win a big bet and walk away from the table.  The chief success of this movie for me was that it generated empathy; it was difficult not to hold my head in my hands as his scheme expanded.

Hoffman's range is pretty darned wide and you can almost smell the tired sweat embedded in his clothes.  Watching directly through the lens of the camera it's all about him.  Witnessing him over the shoulder of casino monitoring staff it comes across expertly in the two sets of angles involved.  A beautiful shot of a lone car in a commercial parking garage drives the point home with an eloquence which, while superfluous, could not be left on the cutting room floor.

All three principal performances here are perfectly understated.  Barely recognizable under blond hair and a Canadian accent, Minnie Driver works quite well as the girlfriend who deludes herself into taking far too long to pull her head out of the sand.  John Hurt's character could be the main one with a few edits and a little more exposition.  As neither foil for nor enabler of Mahowny he exists in parallel, knowing exactly how this type of person works but still curious as to his origins. 

I started this one by writing, "I think I liked this movie more than I should have," and that's only due to a score which (beginning with a mention in the opening credits) works too hard to underline points that require no emphasis.  But it became forgettable in the three days it's taken me to write this.

I enjoy it when I like a (mainstream(ish) American) movie more than my Woman.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory (2010)

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna
Director: Roger Michell
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford

 a jersey girl who has been dreaming of being a national morning show producer since elementary school finally finds an opportunity in the worst, most poorly rated, national morning show haling from the "ibs" channel. it's called "daybreak" and every time this titled was uttered i thought they said "date rape" so i had to do a double take. every time. of course she has to turn it around in a short amount of time to stop it from being canceled so she goes rogue...

The Woman
i know. yet another romantic comedy. however, this was not romantic, nor comedic. it tried to be comedic, but failed on an almost epic level. i can't say if it was trying to be a romantic comedy as the romance kind played on the backest burner, behind the new job drama, and the father figure drama. unfortunately, this had every romantic comedy's plot, just without the romantic comedy in the plot. the editing was distractingly weird too. i didn't understand the point in this movie at all. the focus was so scattered and the sidekicks who had such potential were wasted.

all in all i would say this was pretty horrible.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Switch

The Switch (2010)

Writer: Allan Loeb (screenplay)
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston

the bestest friend of a woman who has decided to inseminate herself accidentally ruins the semen she plans to use so replaces it with his own swimming army.

The Woman
gross. i actually enjoyed this one. i don't know why. i recognize it wasn't a good movie, but it must have caught me on a good day. i would not tell anyone to watch this movie. i would never watch it again, but i enjoyed our time together. the little kid was totally awesome. bits of the personality reminded me of my dear grumbly husband. not the hypochondria, just the pessimism and attitude.

jason bateman's character was, indeed, a horrible person. he did an incredibly horrible thing, but that's ok because jennifer aniston really loved him in the end. it doesn't matter that the kid missed out on having a father for the first 6 years of his life. it was just destiny kid. you were just the vehicle to get horrible person and man issues low self esteem lady together. that last bit was a little harsher than i intended, but i'm keeping it in to emphasize that this was not a good movie despite my less than negative response whilst sitting on the couch. i'm a little bitter about my feelings towards this movie....

p.s. whenever i see jason bateman i think of "little house on the prairie" more specifically, the one where charles comes off the hinges and builds that massive plaster altar and god comes and heals little jason bateman from the coma he fell in after he was run over by the know the one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011)

Director: Rodman Flender

a camera follows conan on his tour.

I don't think this was a good documentary.  I was interested in it much more for my hatred of Jay Leno than my adoration for Conan, so I was skewed from the start.  But this spent too much time, as the Woman says, "following Conan on his tour;" and not nearly enough time discussing the content of the tour or any of the meat of what happened, gag order or no.  For that matter, they didn't show enough of the show for it to be interesting or entertaining.

Don't ask me about this one in three months. I won't remember it at all.

The Woman
i wouldn't say that i am a fan. i think he got ripped off, and i think it's awesome that he can be honest and say yes. i am pissed off about this shitty thing that happened to me. man, did i get fucked over. he seems to be really awesome towards his fans. i was only mildly paying attention to this as i had just completed a year long project and was figuring out the logistics of setting said project up.

You Can Count On Me

You Can Count On Me (2000)

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick

The brother comes into town for a few days and shakes things up a little.

The Woman
shme, meh, meh. i guess this was good? i didn't not like it, but every character in it was pretty unlovable. that always gives me pause. i have to be able to connect with someone. even if it's a hatred of wanting a horrible death thrown down upon unlovable characters. at least that's something. i was pretty indifferent to these people. i wouldn't say this was worth going out of your way to watch. there you go.

Oh, look. It's *that* movie.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Muppets

The Muppets (2011)

Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Director: James Bobin
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Walter, Kermit, and the rest of the Muppets

Jason Segel's brother is a muppet (but he doesn't quite know it).  On a trip to Los Angeles, they learn that a rich oil baron is buying the Muppet Theater with sinister intent.  They proceed to find Kermit and get the band back together to raise the funds necessary to buy the theater back.

The Woman
this was the kid's first movie theater experience so i enjoyed watching him watching this. it was a good homage to an old school muppet movie. mostly, i think, it had the feel of "the muppets take manhattan" with the focus on the humans and kermit rather than the muppets themselves. there were some great jokes and i laughed plenty out loud. on the other side, there was some short comings as well. i think there was a little too much focus on the two different plots. i think it would have been better if they chose to stick to one and let the other be a small side plot. and by that i mean walter's story of finding himself and accepting his muppetness should have remained in the background. the preschooler in our group started to waiver around the hour ten mark so the last bits of the movie i only half paid attention to in between shushing my child and sitting him down and telling him he ate all of the bathtub sized popcorn. the ending was a little wishy washy for me also, but all in all i had a great time and i'm glad we followed through and saw this in the movies. definitely the best of the contemporary muppet movies. no adaptations. an actual original muppet story.

as a side note i think it was an interesting plot move to have the rights to the muppets become an issue since i believe brian henson and disney argued over the same thing in recent history...notice no henson or oz associated in the credits...

One of the few actually funny jokes from Austin Powers was even prescient: How much should they have made the contract worth?  $10M seems like a pretty low number these days, but much more than that would have been equally implausible.  Other than that there's not too much to say about the plotting itself.  From a critical perspective it took a bit too long to get that point, musical numbers notwithstanding. From a critical standpoint, the premise of the movie needed to be set 20 years or so in the future.  From a critical standpoint, blah blah blah.  This is another one of those "this is a movie" movies.  Who cares? 

It's a fucking Muppet movie, and not a terrible one at that.  The all-Muppet scenes were generally better than those where they had to interact with people, but only because they're more in their element.  The "Muppet Show" type bits were definitely the best part, and I do wish we had gotten to see more of those.  Because seriously, Gonzo + schtickless Jack Black=awesome.

There were some other great social commentary jokes ("Punch Teacher" runs for 120 minutes, of course) and some cute cameos (though I honestly feel like there could/should have been many more despite the woman's disagreement).  The movie was funny and jerked enough tears and was generally quite satisfying.  It's a Muppet movie.  We are exactly the target demographic of this movie.  If you are as well, then you will dig it.  If you're not, then I don't know who you are.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leila made me watch all of "Buffy" and now I'm going to talk about it.

Buffy the Fucking Vampire Slayer
A Joss Whedon Animal, with many other contributors
Starring Sarah Michelle, Flute-Masturbator, Obligatory British Stuffypants, blah blah blah for 500 words right here

Whatever format this will turn out to be
This shares a fair amount with Harry Potter in that it's about the super-special dork from high school who has a mentor and a cadre of essential friends and parents who just don't understand.  Wait... I just described practically every story about a kid in school; and I also decided that I don't want this to be eleven thousand words of drivel.  If you're expecting something akin to my Twilight stuff, you'd best tune away now.

I was reluctant to begin this exercise.  I'm the on the space end of the SF spectrum, not the sorcery side.  I am a proud roll player, as differentiated from a role player.  I just don't have time to take this stuff so seriously.  But I sat through it, because it bought me a few decibels.  I didn't write down any notes during this experience, so I'm not going to be very specific and I'm probably going to get some things wrong.  Please correct me. I will enjoy the waves of your fervor as they crash gracelessly against the cliff of my indifference.

Two introductory paragraphs later, we begin the first season.  One forgives most series their first season, as it takes time to develop ground rules and give voices to a myriad of characters.  I have no problem extending that clemency here.  Nothing made me hate the show or the concept or anything like that.  Even while friendships developed and bitchinesses were reconciled, the show found time to develop itself as a classic procedural.  In the majority of episodes in the first six seasons, I could set my watch by when things happened.  90% of the time the solution to the week's problem made itself apparent during minute 33. Extend that out to the level of the season, and episodes 22 and 23 were dedicated to defeating an enemy who was fully analyzed somewhere between the end of episode 19 and the middle of episode 21.  So what?  Law and Order had a similarly rigid format and that lasted over 20 years.

This show was a train, chugging along the track of that formula; and in fact the first season was above average in execution here.  With the exception of the last, the seasonal arc stories were all mostly irrelevant. The factor most responsible for making the show interesting or annoying is the secondary characters. Seasons 4 and 5 were dragged to the ground by the twin foils of The Government and Angel (who I think appeared before season 4 and who regularly showed up to either deus-ex-machina the proceedings or just annoy them to a halt). And both of those items made me groan when I saw the appropriate actors' names in the credits. There was plenty of fun here as well, with people like Anya and (to a lesser extent) Xander around to be unintentionally funny and unfunny, respectively.  Season 6 had those three fucking kids; and it was the most ill-conceived of them all. I do not accept that it took Buffy, especially with Willow the techie let alone Willow the witch so long to figure that stuff out; but I do appreciate how those characters had done in earlier seasons some things to sow the seeds for their later development.

(This is a good spot for a brief discussion of the growth of Buffy herself. While it might be marked by which idiot she chose to fuck that's not really the point.  She went from schoolgirl stupidity (pre-Angel) to stupid neediness and pretend maturity (Angel) to slightly-greater maturity (army guy whose name doesn't even register with me) to raw sex followed by the comprehension of codependency which is a mature relationship (Spike).  Each of those phases is mirrored in the way she behaves and how she fights.  So good job on that one.)

There were some ambitious ideas at play through most of the show.  A school blowing up in the face of real world events, especially 15 years ago, was pretty ballsy.  There were the "concept" episodes, like the musical one (shmeh) and the silence one and the addition arc (OK).  Joss never shied away from aspects of sexuality which could very well have cost him some sponsors.  I'm not just talking about the frank depiction of lesbians. There was plenty of intersection between humans, demons, vampires, and werewolves as well.  And people's various addictions, the high water mark of which is Willow's bender, influenced their actions in believable ways which were only over the top when necessary (which, I suppose, undercuts the notion of 'over the top,' but...)

It's that ambition which drove a generally very good seventh season.  With tighter serialization and much higher stakes, the show became interesting to watch for both the large plot AND the interplay of the characters.  While the way it was presented had the side-effect of undermining the stakes of most of the earlier "big bads," the change in tone drew me in on a cerebral level which I hadn't experienced in this show.  The idea that people all over the world were dying made the notion of Buffy as protector much more believable, and the other elements of multi-stage bosses and mystical weapons provided a narrative (for more good than ill) much more like a good video or role-playing game.

All of that's a shame in light of the truly weak two-part-but-not-really series finale.  Aside from the fact that nobody needed reminding that Angel was still around, the whole thing kind of ended with a thud where the involvement of Buffy and all the potentials was just a side point in getting pure ol' Spike to act as a lens for the light of the sun--see the proto-Meyers middle school poetry and fake irony?--be destroyed while laying waste to all the super-vampires.  Technical issues aside, the last shot of the remaining crew members standing in front of the crater that is Sunnydale was unnecessary and more than a little silly.

I had held out against this for years, and the four or five month exercise of watching all 150-odd episodes has left me with little actual improvement other than the chance to get oblique references made by friends who I hardly see anymore.  Sure, I was entertained, but I wasn't moved in the way I had been told for a (fuck!) almost half my life that I would be.

Page Eight

Masterpiece Contemporary Presents: Page Eight
Written by David Hare
Directed by David Hare
Starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weiss, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis

An aging intelligence analyst falls afoul of the government when his boss lets him in on some secrets.

This was a positive, if uneven, experience.  Acting kind of sloped downward through the cast list; but since we spend the vast majority of the time with Bill Nighy, of whom I have not yet found my fill-line, that's pretty well OK.  Special recognition must be given to an utterly wooden performance by Ralph Finnes as a Bush-esque Prime Minister; but everybody else was fine and I almost stopped hearing Dumbledore when Gambon was speaking.  Direction and production were right at the level I've grown to expect from British TV materials.

The problem here is the story.  Two hours was the wrong length for this much material.  I looked around (a little) to see if it was based on a book or something, and I found no evidence of that.  The story between the leads was the strongest, and I think it was a good choice to have the implications of the intelligence be political rather than "the world's going to explode if we don't uncover this sinister plot."  But everything else was underdeveloped.  There wasn't enough history with his daughter or his ex-wife, nor was there enough discussion of how everybody fell out of favor with the government.  Nor was there, nor was there, nor was there.  We were expected to take too much as a given.

It's kind of like a mediocre finale to a good TV series.  But still, you could do a lot worse.

The Trip (2010)

The Trip (2010)
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

a mocumentary of rob brydon and steve coogan on a road trip together where they discus things over food.

I'm not entirely sure how to write about this one.  It's billed as a "mocumentary," and I guess it is; but it's not mocumenting the food.  It's much more of that Gervais-style awkwardness improv between two good friends as they travel through rural England and eat at nice restaurants.  There's really not much to critique here.  The material was funniest when it was (or appeared to be) at its least rehearsed.  There was plenty of joy in watching them both do impressions, but Brydon is really quite good.

Some hay was made of the apparent differences between Brydon's and Coogan's (characters') lives, with the former perfectly happy to be somewhere in the middle class and have a nice home and a nice family while the latter wants to keep reaching for stars which he's unlikely to grab.  This part was fine, but not funny; and the point of a movie like this is to be funny.

If you're as anglophiliac as we are then you'll find some entertainment here; but you won't need to wear a back brace afterwards.

The Woman
i fell asleep during this...a couple times. it's the annual toastyness under the blanket syndrome. it occurs every year in the late fall. it has nothing to do with what i'm watching. i actually really wanted to watch this. unfortunately this was a little slow and the toastyness just won. i enjoyed what i saw though. i think it's interesting that the alan partridge character shares a lot in common with most steve coogan portrayals. i also feel that rob brydon, in all the panel shows that moster watches, seems to be a little curmudgeonly compared to the lightheartedness of the other comedians, but is the big silly side of the spectrum in this, making steve coogan seem even more of a stick in the mud. that's about all i can say about this one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

Writer: does it matter?
Director: Michael Dowse
Starring: Topher Grace, Ana Farris, Dan Fogler, and Teresa Palmer

a guy finds out his high school crush is in town and they go to a party and he steals a car and they find out they have a lot in common and it's a crazy party and his partner in loserness snorts some coke and whoa look at him, he's high on coke and hijinks and hijinks and a fight and a destined relationship begins.
The Woman
maybe it's because we've been watching all this super heavy and deep stuff that i crave the shallow and hit the 'watch' button. sigh. i like brainless, but apparently not this time, not this brainless. this was pretty bad. i've seen this done in a million different coming of age teen dramas. the only difference in this one was that it was the crazy transition of life after college and not the slight transition of high school to college. i don't want to even say this had potential. it was a flaming wreck of unoriginal regurgitational vomit from inception. or is that an oxymoron?

topher grace had this whole nerdy thing down pretty pat in the days of yore. now it just comes off as kind of douchey arrogance vibe.

don't bother watching this. watch one of the other 9 trillion coming of age movies you have about a group of youngsters going to the last hoorah party where they all go for all the goals they've shied from in the past and it leads to crazy hijinks and the best night of their short, vapid, little lives.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Writer: Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Starring: Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Lopez Mercado

This movie is a road picture, following a 30-ish separated women and the two buffoons who hoodwinked her into looking for some mysterious beach.

The Woman
meh. i guess this was good. i see why people like it. it could've been way worse. i guess rich little shit brats in their 20s are the same everywhere. growing up is hard. blah, blah, blah. i enjoyed the way the story was presented with the cuts in audio and the narration. i just feel like i've seen this before. the rich/poor gap was made painfully obvious. there was a large hammer on the bell in my brain. the rich are oblivious to the plight of the masses. i get it. especially in mexico. got it. my personal brush with mexican authority showed me all i will ever need to see, in all it's stereotypical truth.

This movie was in our house because of Cuaron, and you can't really dispute the at the level of direction is there.  From cramped settings in cars to the beautiful vistas of rural Mexico, everything is exactly where it will provide the maximum effect.  The direction of the film mirrors perfectly the elements of the story, giving us tension when called for, relaxation when necessary, and sultriness when available.  The intentionally-intrusive narration was almost always a welcome respite.

This is a story that could not have been told by American cinema, because it involves sex and feelings and how neither of those things respects gender.  There's always sexual tension between friends of the same gender; it just doesn't always have the opportunity (or requirement) for physical manifestation.  One day, people will write of the coming-of-age of American culture, too, but I won't be around to watch that movie.

I don't know why I have so little to say about this one, but c'est la vie.  I will say that I didn't really focus nearly as much on the rich/poor gap as I did on the way each of the characters had to grow up and get the fuck over themselves to move on, even if that forward motion ended in death.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (2007)

Writer: Cristian Mingiu
Director: Cristian Mingiu
Starring: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu

a chick does all the dirty work in getting her friend an illegal abortion in romania in 1987(?) and when things go wrong she keeps her shit together.

This film is delivered to us with high level of competence. It's quite good, but isn't something that inspires "like" as a reaction.  Claustrophobic shots of natural performances are perfect for the material; and the it's almost depressing that the locations for some of the exterior settings are so readily available.  The lens of the story quite wisely keeps the politics behind everything else, informing the proceedings but never dominating the story.  Ancillary scenes of joy come our way through glimpses of other characters simply leading their lives and dealing with the necessary crap.  No ball-peen hammers were harmed in the imparting of this tale.

Following the story of the best friend rather than the inseminatee is a smart approach, because it gives us a vantage point from which we can see the world of the story much more clearly.  Through the eyes of the friend, haggling over the price of a room allows us to see the frustration of the desk clerk as well.  Through the eyes of the friend, haggling over the price of the actual procedure is more sinister, because the payment is made out of loyalty rather than desperation; and that loyalty is the core of the tale.

The Woman
ah, unplanned pregnancy. it wasn't as depressing as i thought it might be. of course, everything is a ray of sunshine compared to our recent viewing of "dancer in the dark". i found myself to be anxious when i supposed to be so i guess that says something. like the whole scene at the boyfriend's mothers house. it seemed to drag on forever. but that was the point. i just kept waiting for the gory bloody scene that i thought was inevitably coming.

the fetus....i had a hard time not laughing, but i didn't want to trample on my poor, sensitive husband's sensibilities. i don't think feti, even at 6 months look like little babies. they look more like pigs with hands and feet.

i kind of wish i knew more of what was going on in romania in this time period, but since i'm a fucking american i have to research world history especially more contemporary world history for myself since it's not taught in school, or talked about ever. especially communist history! i'm off to research...

this was good. her friend is a huge unappreciative asshole. and that's all i have to say about that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just Go With It (2011)

Writer: Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling, and 4 more people who wrote it for playhood and frenchness
Director: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston

a guy pretends to be married to pick up chicks, but inevitably meets a girl 9 trillion years his junior who he thinks is his soulmate, but she is the one who is disgusted with herself for sleeping with a married man, so he makes his attractive, divorced with two kids, assistant pretend to be his newly exed wife. then the kids get involved then they all end up in hawaii together and THEN, in a shocking twist, it turns out that adam sandler loved jennifer aniston all along and vice versa!

The Woman
yeah. i had pretty much given up on adam sandler after the giant unfunny turd that was "grown ups" and yet i watched this unimaginative, predictable, unfunny piece of cinema. i wouldn't call it a turd since it wasn't as bad as "grown ups" but it was exactly on the same level as "couples retreat". adam sandler could have been vince vaughn and i wouldn't have noticed. so, i guess, there you go. if you find immense humour in movies like "couples retreat" then you will think this movie is gold.

this thing did not sway my negative feelings toward adam sandler movies either. i have enjoyed him in the distant past. i think it's a shame about the direction his career has gone.  i should have given up around the "mr.deeds" era, but i held out hope...actually, i take that back. he did a really good job in that one with don cheadle...where his family died in 9-11. that one showed some range.  but the comedies have been the same crummy jokes for the last 10 years. i want to say that i know he still has some funny left in him, but i'm seriously doubting that's true. it's an abusive relationship. he beats the crap out of me, but i go back for more. sigh. i think this time i'm really done though. the release of "jack and jill" was the nail in the coffin. my faith hast been destroyed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Little Help

A Little Help (2010)

Writer: Michael J. Weithorn
Director: Michael J. Weithorn
Starring: Jenn Fischer

after the death of her total ass of a husband, a woman struggles to get her act together. not because she doesn't have a husband anymore, but because she hasn't quite grasped adulthood yet.

The Woman
yeah, i liked this one. very dry dark humor. very relatable. i don't have too much to say about it. i guess because i liked it? yay.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Insidious (2010)

Writer: Leigh Whannell
Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne,and a hobo dressed as darth maul

crazy haunty-like things start happening when a couple's kid falls into in inexplicable coma.

The Woman
like most horror scary type movies this was way creepier when i had no idea what was going on. once the big bad mystery is revealed things usually take a turn for the hoaky, and in this case giggle inducing. seriously, i was laughing by the end. i didn't not like it because it did entertain me. it was over dramatic and eyebrow lifting but kind of in a good way. such ridiculous elements like the gas mask seance, and the vaudevillian "the further" are good examples of it's silliness.  it came off as a throw back of those seventies terrible horror movies like "burnt offerings" especially with the huge title card and the string cacophony. the ending was really kind of lame and predictable, but it is a contemporary horror movie after all so i shall deduct a minimal amount of points.

plus the hobo in the darth maul costume dancing to some tiny tim was priceless. and, like the kid's coma, i have an inexplicable soft spot for patrick wilson.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet (2009)
Directed by Patrick Buckley, Bobby Ciraldo, Kevin Layne, Andrew Swant
Written by (? - this is a documentary) Margot Stappington

This is a documentary about a ballet inspired by William Shatner's spoken and sung works.  It does not include any shots of him dancing because those would be interesting.  It was, however, an official selection of numerous backwoods "international film festivals."

This was crappy all around.  I'm writing before Leila does her synopsis [she later decided to not even bother with this], so I don't know if there will be some repetition here but this documentary was essentially a shitty vanity project about a rich woman's shitty vanity project.  William Shatner wasn't anywhere close to being the star.

This movie is the story of one woman's quest to set dancing around William Shatner's music and spoken word stuff.  It's a thoroughly boring story, about convincing some second-rate Midwest ballet company to take on the project and how, essentially, Shatner and Ben Folds were all too happy to oblige.  OK, lady. That's great.  Now, show us the dancing.  OK, now stop showing us the dancing. It doesn't match the audio at all.

Just, go away.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Chronicles of Narnia: Something Having to do with a Sea Voyage (2010)

Writer: Christopher Marcus, Stephen McFeely (pants), Michael Petroni (all screenplay) and, of course, C.S. Lewis
Director: Michael Apted
Starring:Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes

those zany british kids are back in narnia. this time they are on a ship, and accompanied by their cousin who is the embodiment of science and reason, but it's ok because he finds jesus, i mean, aslan.

The Woman
are they done with these? this one was just as boring as the first one. here we are sailing to this place unexcitedly. now, we're going to this place unadventurously. and so on and so forth until they defeat the green fog and aslan tells them they are grown up and that he is known as jesus in their land and they should find him. jesus. jesus. jesus. god. jesus. je-sus.

i kind of felt like the second one wasn't as bad as the first, but this one was pretty bad. liam neeson was phoning this performance in from a remote destination where the best he could get was that one tiny little bar and even that was cutting in and out. i would like to clarify the reason i put this on is because i needed my sick kid to plant his butt on the couch for more than 30 seconds and the choices were this or the owl guardians of ga-hoole or whatever it's called, of which i have been warned is pretty bad. i wish i picked that one.

these movies make me question my love for the PBS miniseries of "the lion, the witch and the wardrobe" that i had in my youth.

The Kid
"i'm done watching this movie"

Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Writer: Lars Von Trier
Director: Lars Von Trier
Starring: Björk, Catherine Deneuve

A woman has a pretty shitty life, but she has a goal and she's working toward that goal slowly and deliberately.  Then she gets totally screwed over by a pig but she maintains some nobility.

The Woman
i recognize that this was a good movie. but it's good in the way that "monster's ball" or "requiem for a dream" was good. once or never is enough for me. shitty life. shitty death. suffering. all around shittyness. there's enough for everyone! come gather round and i'll tell you a story of a woman who was going blind, lost her job, her savings which she was saving for a life changing operation for her child were stolen, lost her living quarters, is railroaded and taken advantage of everywhere she goes, and when she decides to actually stick up for herself she ends up being convicted of murder and sent to the gallows. it's just a little uplifting story to tell the kiddies. yay for blindness. yay for bjork.

Through the four sessions of, "is he awake again?"  I really liked this movie.  It is, as my woman points out, not the sort of thing you come across on the guide and say, "Oh, let's put this on for a few minutes," but it's pretty great, and well over the "unique enough" line.

Intentionally shot to look like a low-rent episode of Dateline I found a good portion of verisimilitude here.  I really liked how the picture was fuzzier when we were looking through her eyes.  I think that the musical numbers were a neat jab at the idiocy inherent in movie musicals while showing that she was able to find joy through all the crappiness of her existence.  She doesn't come across as being terribly intelligent and I think that that unfairness is intentional, because I do think that she knew what was going on. I could totally see this story happening in reality, especially because I choose to believe (and I might have missed) that the story was set at least ten years earlier than its release date.

The sadness that drives the beauty here is embodied by her actions at the end of the movie.  She eschews a second chance so she can give her kid a first one  Her decision not to see him led me to real questions of morality. I can see how she would want to make that kind of a clean break and not expose her son to all the crap, but I don't know if I would be strong enough.  It wears on her, though, and we can see the struggle.  But in the end she recognizes the futility of her situation, and that might be the most depressing part of all.

Finally, to lighten the mood (really just for my woman), Douche!
the woman-  keeeeeeeeeith morrrrrrrrison!!

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

Writer: Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden (screenplay) and Ned Vizzini (novel)
Director: Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakas

a kid who is very pressured in being great thinks he may possibly make an attempt at suicide and convinces an e.r. doctor to admit him to the psych ward for 5 days where he finds companions and love.

This movie is, to a T, exactly what it is.  If you can get past the 20 minute mark you'll know the ending.

Everything down the entire stack of the production was stock.  The camera is where it has to be in this shot. The expressions are what they're supposed to be when that thing you knew was going to happen happens.  There is slow motion where the formula calls for slow motion.  There are montages and mean teenagers and a troupe of mental patients picked from movies ranging from considerably better (Cuckoo's Nest) to are-you-fucking-serious (The Dream Team).  BUT, there is some sensitivity to middle-eastern culture which is a little bit new, including reconciliation between a Muslim and a Jew (who had never interacted before).

Actually, what I said in the beginning (Do you remember that? It was all of a hundred words ago) is not quite true; because the ending of the movie was obviously, glaringly re-tooled due to a poor reception by some preview audiences.

Seriously, I can't deal with this shit.  I'd rather watch an annoying arty movie that doesn't make nearly as much sense as it could; or a slow, quiet, beautiful study of morality; or... fuck... Sleepaway Camp.

The Woman
terrible. i feel as though whoever was responsible for this movie really had something and then it got ripped apart in post production into something unrecognizable. it was like when you see parodies of MTV stuff. with the editing and lack of a cohesive plot. everything's hip and new! look at this crazy editing and maybe you won't notice the terrible storyline. like a crow or magpie being distracted by shiny things.

suicide and institutionalization is sort of heavy, but has the potential for greatness, especially when the main character is sort of that 'i'm so different and all alone in my despair but really i'm totally exactly the same as every other teenager on the face of the planet' emotionally. plus such greats were completely left unused and wasted like jim gaffigan and zach galafiniakas, who we both decided actually killed himself in the end, but it was too much of a downer so they cut it and just threw in a line at the end to explain his mysterious absence. we learned nothing about emma roberts character either. just here's a chick who is approximately the same age as you so there can be a love interest. the only reason you know she's a cutter is because of the scars on her face, that way we don't have to go into it at all. she also gets to leave inpatient care the same time as our lead because...well...they made plans to go to a vampire weekend concert. that's as much explanation as we got.

for a movie about self discovery this was pretty shallow. and terrible. and stagnant.

p.s. it's actually not kind of a funny story.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs (2010)

Writer: people
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway

a gross pharmaceutical rep on his way to the big time falls in love with his fuck buddy who just happens to have parkinsons to create some lame drama.

The Woman
i can't believe i actually watched this whole thing! i should wear it as a badge of honor. a tattoo on my forehead. :i sat through ALL of "love and other drugs". maybe i should seek treatment. maybe it's a self loathing thing, like cutting. about twenty minutes in, i just wanted anne hathaway to die. i wanted to see that parkinsons just run it's course and have some sort of satisfaction. i wanted to see jake gyllenhaal cry and be sad and then, unrealistically vow his allegiance to his love by throwing himself off a building. i don't think he loved her that much though.

neither of their characters had any worth whatsoever. the introduction to james, or whatever his character was called, was superfluous and boring. i don't need to know his family life through 1 dinner conversation that is quickly over and forgotten, never to come up again. i don't care that he was a good electronics salesman with a brain bashing spin doctors montage. (it was in these first minutes that i experienced the urge to get up and just turn it off. then go purge the spin doctors from my digestion tract. why? why did i continue?) after yet another montage we get to meet poor anne hathaway, she has a terrible disease. i know from the two or three scenes in which her symptoms are shown. so smarmy, serial lady doer guy with low self-esteem starts doing angry sick girl who pushes anyone away from her because she has a debilitating disease at such a tender age.  and they have lots of boring issues and they try to be funny by having a fat, rich, younger brother thrown into some circumstances. they are both unredeemable and unlovable. there is the classic romantic comedy break up argument and then the classic guy speech about how much he loves his lady friend after time spent apart. however, this particular speech was the most unmoving " i love you and want you back" speech i've ever heard! if i wasn't so irritated with having watched this thing in it's entirety i would have laughed it was so pathetic. i'm sorry. i love you. i know you're sick and i'll help you out when you can't help yourself even though you don't ask because i love you. time spent together montage. the end.

if you ever wanted to see anne hathaway whip out her tits 900 times then this is the movie for you, but as i was not interested in her nipples this was a train wreck of a boring bad movie. also, apparently, this was based on a non-fiction book. so then, i guess, movie makers couldn't decide what kind of a movie to make. drama? romantic comedy? political statement? all three did not work. or indecision prevailed and created that mess.

p.s. did i mention the flimsy attempt at criticizing the health care system in this land of the USA? no? well it doesn't really matter...hey look! anne hathaway's nips are out again!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale (2002)

Writer: Brian DePalma
Director: Brian DePalma
Starring: romjin-stamos before the non stamos status, Antonio Bandaras- sort of.

Female high-end thief conspires to double-cross her co-thieves on a big heist.  Things go badly for her; and in running away she gets confused for a woman who just lost her baby and takes a bath in that woman's parents' house and watches her commit suicide.  Then she impersonates that woman and becomes the wife of the American Ambassador to France and she gets blackmailed, but not for that.

She also fucks Antonio Bandaras on a pool table.  Through the course of this movie there are more double- and triple-crosses...

The Woman
sigh. i don't find the romjin attractive. she seems incredibly plain jane to me. i suppose she has a nice ass, but that's like saying a car is awesome because of the chrome fender. she is also a H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E actress. nothing like a starring role to point that small fact out. she was a way better actress in french which i find really funny.
so onto the actual movie: i felt like this movie was treating me, an audience member, like the kid that eats glue, hits his head on the wall, and has an excessive amount of drooliness. i was actually offended at how dumb i was being treated. people don't have to wear the same outfits when they're introduced 7 years later for me to figure out who they are. there were also amazing situations that were beyond the scope of suspending disbelief. and THEN the movie took the stupid jumping the shark patrick duffy wants his old dallas job back, but we killed off his character approach. which threw me into the anger and hatred stage of this movie.

i realize this was a kind of homage to the film noir of old hollywood. that fact was hammered into my face with all the subtly of a hammer in my face. however, the music was overbearing, and the directing and editing were crazy over the top. sophisticated homages to old school movies are possible. it's been done. i feel like this was an outdated, poorly acted, k-mart version of a burberry trench coat.

...Also there is a distinct lack of subtlety.

There are ways you can look at this movie where it's not quite as annoying as it actually is.  You could say that Ms. Stamos is attractive--and she is, if you don't mind a bit of the buttah--but she's pretty well on par with  Haley Berry in that fucking X Men movie.

You could say that Antonio Bandaras's over-the-top retardation is fun, but you'd be wrong about that one.  You could say that that one sex scene with the two chicks in the bathroom in the beginning is fairly hot.  You'd be right about that, but you'd only tease people into watching the rest of the movie for no real reason.  All I know for sure is that as far as this movie is concerned it's the greatest thing since The Sixth Sense.

True, it took us a bit (probably a little longer than it should, because we weren't rapt with attention) to work out the TWIST but in retrospect it was clear much earlier on.  And when the viewer is clued in to this masterstroke of 9th grade storytelling it, just like any good 9th grader, dances around in circles with its tongue out because it got you in this cosmic joke thingy.

Seriously, that's how this thing reads: like the final paper in a high school English course on literary devices.

Morvern Callar

Morvern Callar (2002)

Writer: Liana Dognini &Lynne Ramsay (screenplay?), alan someone (novel)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Starring: Samantha Morton

a chick whose boyfriend commits suicide goes through some stuff. silently. she doesn't tell anyone he's dead. hacks up his body, takes his money, and gets the book he wrote for her published under her name. then she goes on holiday to spain, with her whore friend and then leaves town. all to the soundtrack of the music her dead boyfriend gave to her.

This wasn't an AV Club movie.  This was a Netflix recommendation that sounded a lot better when I read the description.  I put it on the queue and I take responsibility for that.  This was in English, so the scarf got longer or the intricate embroideries continued to expand or whatever.  People don't have to talk in a movie to make it a good movie, but they do have to talk in a movie so you can look at the screen less than 50% of the time.   The rules bite us both in the ass.  It's just another thing to grumble about in the short term that will not be on the "oh yeah?" list in another six months.

I suppose I should talk about the movie, which was not at all what I anticipated and not in a good way.  The first 20 minutes or so were captivating.  I was curious to find out what happened to the characters but I would have been more interested to see more about her blowing the money or whatever then what was actually on the screen.  That said, there were some nice shots and the acting was better than one could expect.

The Woman
goddammit i can't wait until this list of movies that moster put on willy nilly because the a.v. club told him he should that have two lines of dialog every hour and are really, really, deep, man, comes to an end. moster keeps saying ,"but they're pretty and well directed" that does NOT make a good movie. there has to be substance that is attainable too. i don't care about this chick. i don't care what her motives are, and i certainly don't give a shit about a journey she takes to find out that life is shit wherever you go. you're still you, bitch. deal with it. i don't need 2 hours of "well directed" pointlessness to have that epiphany.

Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Writer: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz...AND 6 OTHER PEOPLE (what, were they playing telephone around a conference table?)
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges, and a terribly rendered CG Jeff Bridges

This is a coming-of-age story in which the protagonist is a smart rich kid.

The Woman 
jeeeeeesus boosteebus, this was bad. it didn't make any sense to me at all. i think having a digital world with programs running around like people is a little outdated too. tube technology has come far. those newfangled computers aren't so newfangled anymore. microchips and hula-hoops are more tangible for the modern man. it's no fantasy fantasy where god demands macaroni pictures. it's a piece of thing that fits on your fingertip.

it didn't help that we attempted to watch this during the megadisaster of the october blizzard where the trees were snapping all around us and the power kept flickering like we were in studio 54, and the 3 year old who resides with us was on an amphetamine-like binge of nonsleep. we had to stop and restart many electronics several times until we finally gave up an hour in and finished the rest the next day. by no means am i saying we would have enjoyed this had the fates not been heeding us to stop, but it certainly didn't help with the understanding of the nonsensical mythology. also. the guy, you know, the son? his face really irritated me. he's like a mix of a cat a monkey and disney's tweedle-dee and dum. it made me gnash my teeth.

This was another pretty movie. I guess the acting was OK.  I didn't see any real problems with the blocking, and I could always discern the dialog.  None of it was particularly special, except for the digital ashram.

I... I... I can't.  I just can't.  I just can't begin to think about beginning to think about dissecting the technical elements of the universe in the story, so I'll just simply give you the endpoint:  What would it have mattered if all these programs became corporeal?  You'd have however many people who you now need to feed and clothe and house and everything else, just to take over a planet filled with orders of magnitude of more people.  And NOBODY WOULD KNOW HOW TO FUNCTION IN OUR WORLD.

With that in mind, the stakes are reduced to practically zero.  OK, this kid wants to get his dad (and himself) back to the real world.  OK, that's really difficult.  But since the movie isn't framed this way we have no investment in their relationship. So what's the point?

The point is pretty pictures and a desire for delicious dollars.

Winnebago Man

Winnebago Man (2009)

Director: Ben Steinbauer

a documentary about Jack Rebney, a guy made famous by his winnebago industrial video outtakes, and how and what he's doing 20 years after they were made. that is a horrible sentence. i should get a job in the digital cable info button department.

This was pretty good all around. One of the problems that I tend to see in documentaries is a lack of clear vision, and this presented us with a single, cohesive narrative and little screwing around.  I don't know how much of that vision was clear to the filmmaker when he was obtaining the video, and that's all the more impressive.  One of the things which impresses me about a lot of documentaries--even the ones which waste my time--is how a small group of people stick with a subject for much longer than the length of a fictional feature. The filming here spans something like three years and it would have been impossible to know that it would even be possible for most of the first year of its production.  That's probably because the director is some rich white kid.

The subject matter here was interesting, even through the somewhat broken lens of time to which we are exposed.  There's some background into the guy and some information about those 20 years, but really just enough to contextualize the clips of the outtake videos and his current political stance.  His fame is no more justified than those Jersey Shore douches, but he's getting a lot less exposure.  That's OK, because he doesn't care. And the true success of the film is that we do.

Or, at least we did for an hour and a half.

The Woman
i enjoyed this. the journey that was made from the director finding the infamous jack rebney to jack rebney's discovery and acceptance (?) of his fan base. it's always great to see the life of a true, non-fiction, character. i also love ornery old guys. i believe i will be an ornery old lady myself one day. i picture overalls and a pipe as accessories in seclusion. i'm glad he had a kindred spirit in his friend as well. even hermits need someone to lean on. yay, for jack rebney.

this is a shining example of a documentary with a subject whose life before is not made clear, but is still a success in telling a biographical story. something which " cameraman: the life and work of jack cardiff" failed to do.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Rite

The Rite (2011)

Writer: Michael Petroni, Matt Baglio
Director: Mikael Håfström
Starring:Colin O'Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins

a young priest who is going through a doubting his faith stage is sent to rome to become an exorcist. he falls under the guidance of an edgy older exorcist priest. they perform an exorcism together. things go awry. no, this is not "the exorcist" because of that slight difference of the priests are in rome.

The Woman
be glad, moster. be very, very glad you weren't a part of this one. you know it's going to be iffy when a "horror" movie is rated PG-13. it's just never a good sign. this was one of the most unoriginal movies i may have ever seen. can we approach exorcism from a different stand point? is it possible? not that i believe in any of it, but movies have the ability to pretend in different ways, right? i don't care about a faith crisis. maybe i have no tolerance for it because i am not a believer in the G-O-D. the whole premise of demons exist, therefore, there is a god, i've found my faith again, took waaaaaaaaaay too friggin' long. the audience makes this connection within the first ...i'll be generous and say half hour. to drag it out to the last 15 minutes in a 2 hour movie becomes irritating and the priest comes off as a whiny bitch who constantly needs a cheerleader to praise him. it's eye-roll inducing that this revelation is supposed to be the ta-dah moment. the end also comes off as a bit, pardon the pun, but preachy.

also the music queues are so ridiculously over dramatic it's almost funny.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Neighbours

Good Neighbours (2010)

Writer: Jacob Tierney (screenplay) Chrystine Brouillet
Director: Jacob Tierney
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Scott Speedman

a serial killer is on the loose in montreal. there are three neighbors who are weird and have dark quirkiness. one is in a wheelchair. one is in love with her cats, and one is a timid liar.

The Woman
this had some potential, but it just didn't do it for me. maybe the novel is better. i was not in suspense, nor was it very mysterious. i was actually a little bored. the last 10 minutes got a little suspenseful in who was going to fuck who over, but it was over pretty quick. they were all pretty gross and annoying people though, so i didn't really care. it sort of reminded me of ...simon....wait. let me look the title up... "henry fool". it was that sort of a pace. and emily hampshire could be parker posey's stand-in and only a couple people would notice the difference. maybe it was just her character, but i kept having to remind myself that it wasn't, in fact, parker posey.

plus i've seen "how to train your dragon" about 10 times with the little kid in the house so all i can picture when i hear jay bruchel is hiccup.

all in all this was pretty forgettable.