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, August 26, 2011

The Royal Tramp II

The Royal Tramp II (1992)
(No IMDB writing credit and I'm too lazy to go to Wikipedia)
Directed by Stephen Chow, Jing Wong, Gordon Chan
Starring Stephen Chow, Bridgette Lin, Chingmay Yau, Pak-Cheung Chan

In the continuing adventures of Wei Shu Bo, he gets into more shenanigans and occasionally has some good philosophical points about overthrowing the government.

This movie was just phenomenally uneven.  The kung fu was largely very good, interesting, and fun to watch; and Chow is great.  Then there are the times when he talked about how they're all working to overthrow the Ming (or the Ching? I don't remember; it's been a couple of weeks, but this point is immaterial) and he's not sure why they're doing it as with the current prince everybody is getting food and work and all the other essentials.  I really liked how he got into this aspect of the discussion but I think that this thread was gutted in the editing room.

The unfortunate part was the bullshitty slapstick stuff with his friend/sidekick who was in and out of drag for really stupid reasons.  These scenes were accompanied by way over-the-top sound effects and dialog to match.  I don't know who decided that this film needed a dose of low-ish comedy; but that person made a pretty big mistake.

It really did feel like I was watching three movies.  I actually wanted to watch two of them and if they were edited differently they might have been a single, pretty good movie.  It was simplydisappointing every time the jackass came back on the screen.

Maybe I got some silly American edit?  IMDB says no.  So I don't know what to tell you about this one.  I doubt very much that you'll want to watch it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Skeptic


Writer: hahahahaha i forgot about this part!! hold onto your eyeballs people: Tennyson Bardwell
Director:  Tennyson Bardwell (i'm immediately going to imdb to look at the other works of such an appropriately named fellow)
Starring:  Tim Daly, Tom Arnold and Zoe Seldana (one of these things is not like the other)

This dude's aunt dies, and there's all this talk about how her place is haunted but all he cares about is selling the house. The dude's a bit of a cock and is skeptical, of every thing, for about eleven seconds at a shot (i.e. as long as it suits the plot).  He meets this one weirdo in a paranormal study institute (or something) and then he meets a woman there.  They try to investigate some of the odd goings on in the house, which leads to some REVELATIONS ABOUT HIS PAST.

The Woman
holy shit, batman, this was terrible! i expected nothing less. in fact, i put it on the queue as a joke, you have to think upon first glimpse of this what could be better than a tim dal;y horror movie? a tim daly, tom arnold horror movie! but this was cable access channel bad. acting laughable. writing laughable. it makes the staff at syfy original movie productions look pulitzer worthy. it makes george lucas look....nope, he still looks like a bad writer. it's almost incapable to grasp how bad this was. it started out really vibing on religious, and then just spiraled into what the fuck!?! it's almost as if two different "writers" and i use that term loosely, were playing exquisite corpses and the second didn't read the first one's work.the ending made the whole movie nonsensical. piss poor tim daly, piss poor. awesome work, tom arnold, awesome work.

This was dumb.  Who decided that Tim Daly needed a "vehicle," anyway?  I remember watching this trailer and being ready for some crap, but the reason that this was so poor is that the main character didn't make any sense.  He's only skeptical in that he's inquisitive.  He asks probing questions about a topic until he decides to accept that the bullshit is actually chocolate ice cream and then he makes rash decisions.

I don't want to write very much about this, and not because it's been a while since we watched it.  It just didn't leave me with very much, even ire, because it was so weak.  It's like getting pissed at the kid.  I'm mad for the time that he's being a jerk, but it's so ineffectual that within 20 minutes the memory gets an mild chuckle.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wild Target

Wild Target (2010)

Writer: Lucinda Coxon (screenplay), Pierre  Salvadori (original film)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Emily Blunt, Bill Nighy, Rupert Grint.

the best, most efficient hit-man in the business shows mercy to his latest target. she is quirky and a kleptomaniac and a good dresser.

I have a THING for Bill Nighy.  Not a sexual thing, but I tend to love the way he plays his roles.  That said, his movie-moustache makes him look a little too much like Kevin Kline for my tastes.

Not that I'm knocking Kevin Kline, but there's just something about the similarity of this (Nighy) role and some of the more-sketchball stuff that Kevin Kline has done.  So, that started me off with a bit of a bad taste in my face.

Despite that, though, there was still something off about this.  It felt a little too safe.  Of course--and I find myself saying this a lot lately--the studio logo in front means that everything will be fine; but there was never any real sense of danger here.  Maybe people were having too much fun making this, or maybe there was just some difficulty between the cast and crew in getting together and suspending internal disbelief, or maybe there was something entirely different at play.  Regardless, there was something wrong with this movie.

It's not BAD (seriously).  It's not uninteresting.  It's not unentertaining.  It's just a little off.

The Woman
there was something missing in this movie. it was mildly funny. and i love me some bill nighy, but the plot was just eh. i could see it better working out as a french movie. and days later i was asking myself what happened to the mastermind bad guy? he sent out arthur dent and never was heard from again really. i really wanted to like this movie, but i just can't say that i did. i didn't not like it. how's that. i wouldn't warn people away from it. maybe then they could shed light on what was wrong with it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dear Lemon Lima

Dear Lemon Lima (2010)

Writer: Suzi Yoonessi
Director: Suzi Yoonessi
Starring: Savanah Wiltfong

an outcast/part eskimo/ quirky teenaged girl is crushed when her egotistical boyfriend breaks up with her. she forms a group of fellow outcasts to compete in the school's eskimo games competition and makes friends. lemon lima is her diary.

The Woman
this was weird. it had potential to be really funny, but there was also some really upsetting things that happened to push it somewhere else. i didn't really get it. there were a lot of elements of napoleon dynamite to it. i hate to make that comparison because i don't think that is what suzi yoonessi was going for, but there were some strong resemblances. she was so bizarre that she was kind of above the loserness factor and it moved quite slow. so yet another shme movie. adolescence sucks. damn. i was excited to watch this one too. oh well.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Winter Light

Winter Light (1963)
Written and Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Gunnar Björnstrand, Ingrid Thulin, Max von Sydow

A day in the life of a disillusioned pastor, set in the icy cold of Sweeden

This was an incredibly beautiful movie.  I'm glad that my woman didn't watch this because it represents everything she hates about these sorts of films.  It's slow, deliberate, and very little happens.  It's not like an Italian movie in that way, exactly, but it's got a small cast of characters doing largely mundane things based on outside influences which aren't entirely under their control.

One of the scales on which I judge a foreign film is how completely it causes me to forget that it's in a foreign language, how easily the subtitles become dialog.  The acting alone is enough to keep the viewer riveted to the words; from the perspective of engagement everything else is a bonus. All the principles live these parts in what's an incredible example of naturalism.  Björnstrand and Thulin are pretty equal in terms of establishing a level of gravitas which is well deserved.

From the perspective of art there's a lot more on display here.  The stark beauty of the scenery is crucial to a good emotional understanding of the characters, and we get all that in droves.  Bergman puts the camera in all sorts of interesting places, looking up at the communion wafer, looking through the trees at a river.  He lingers on a painful face just long enough, then too long, then longer still, then the pain is almost shared.

Watching this movie need not be an exercise merely for completists.  It's a beautiful piece of cinema.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Harry Brown

Harry Brown (2009)
Written by Gary Young
Directed by Daniel Young
Starring Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer

a pensioner(old man) living in the estates (the ghettto) gets fed up with youth violence after his friend argus filch is brutally murdered after he gets fed up with youth violence. the difference is argus filch was never a super bad ass in WWII, and he's not michael caine.

The first 45 minutes of this felt like an easy ripoff of Death Wish, and while I'm happy to say that the fact that he couldn't buy automatic weapons through the mail was not the only differentiator, the disparity was no Grand Canyon. While I don't think there was much more in the way of character depth here--the motivations were almost exactly the same all around--there was definitely a sense of a larger scale: There was a hierarchy of criminality that the cathartic Charles Bronson pictures just didn't care to match; and the ending was better.  But, really, that's about it.  I mean, he's still a vigilante, he still goes around killing bad guys on his own while the police try to figure out if he's the one to reign in, and it seems to me that whatever you felt about Death Wish would apply almost exactly the same way here.

The technical was markedly better, though.  There were some really nice shots which matched the emotions of the story very nicely; and they obviously had more money.  The soundtrack also fit well.

Alright, I don't have too much more to say.  Part of that is because I have to go to fucking work now, and part of that is because in the intervening week my opinion of this has degraded somewhat.  Read the other review instead; you'll probably like it better.

The Woman
i liked this one a lot. it's very gran torino/death wish except i think it might be more raw and hardcore than both. i like michael caine. he can do a good one. i don't have too much to say about this one. that must mean i liked it. violence. revenge. blood spurting. what's not to like? i don't want to give the impression that it was all blood spraying action though. there was character in there too. you get to watch harry brown unfold, or should i say revert to a man of action. there is no joy in what he does. the panic he shows after his first kill quickly disappears and he becomes more calculating in his ventures. all the while avoiding suspicion by all but one detective because of his age. good, good, good. me likied.

p.s. emily mortimer is no slouch either. it's interesting to see the juxtaposition of their two stories.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Visitor Q

Visitor Q (2001)

Writer: Itaru Era
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Kenichi Endo, Shungiko Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe

This movie is about a Japanese family headed by a failed reality TV producer and a visitor who enters their life and shakes things up.

The Woman
to me, shock value has lost it's value. i feel like this was just an exorcise in shock value. there was some sort of comment on how society is obsessed with "reality shows" but it was way overpowered by the desperate depravity that it became ridiculous and laughable. i will say that i found this more hardcore than "the human centipede" that, for some reason, most of my friends found utterly gross, and i just found it to be a tremendously awesome movie. scat vs. necrophilia with some poop thrown in for good measure. meh. i'll be glad when this seemingly everlasting moster streak is over. i've had my fill of old movies, foreign movies, and bad independent movies or any combination of all three. bring on the brainless big budget nonsense. i've had to think too much lately.

I think I looked at this from a different angle than my estimable Woman.  I don't think this was exactly shock for the sake of shock.  I think there was a real story about the father trying to redeem himself.  Everything stems from the way he fucked up; and as misguided as EVERYBODY's actions are they either come from good motivations or bad influences.  The conclusion is a catharsis for the story, even not for the viewer.

Technically speaking, this was done well.  Some of the dirtiness effects were really good, and the acting was fairly convincing; Uchida in particular was a pot coming slowly to a boil.  This is early Miike, but his craft and attention to detail shine through the subject matter.  Again, it all went to a purpose and even if that purpose was culturally disparate from us by about 170 degrees.  The final scene was, in its way, touching.

The grossout factor is high here.  The sketch factor is high.  I don't recommend this to very many people at all, but I don't think it was worthless.

Paper Man

Paper Man (2009)

Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Director: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Kieran Culkin, Lisa Kudrow

a man feeling the pressure of mid-life, and a new book deadline communes with his imaginary friend superhero named excellent man, rents a house in montauk in the off season, and finds a kindred spirit in an outcast teenage girl.

The Woman
liked it. i wasn't too sure in the beginning. i enjoy movies about kindred spirits. it's the anne shirley in me. but in the beginning i though jeff daniels was a little bit too mid-life crisis, but the more distance i have from it the better i like it. it was filmed well too. the whole imaginary friend aspect was handled in a rather great way. good, good, good. it may be slow for some, but i thought it was good. i didn't really find it funny though. don't believe netflix when they tell you it's an indie comedy. it's more indie drama. 85:15 i'd say and i'm being generous in the funny end of the ratio.

You Again

You Again (2010)

Writer: Moe Jelline
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Annable

tortured and bullied kristen bell finds out that 8 years after graduating and moving on with her life, her brother is marrying her torturer and bully from high school. tortured and bullied kristen bell's mother, ms. popular sunshine and rainbows cheerleader mother, jamie lee curtis, finds out that torturer and bully and fiancée to her son's aunt, sigourney weaver is her ex-best friend from highschool who pushed her in the pool at prom and never spoke to her again. rivals and competitions ensue.

The Woman
dumb. exactly what was expected. dumb, thoughtless, dumb, predictable, and kristin chenowith. so yeah. this was a good sunday afternoon on channel 11 movie. i guess only those who live in NY and CT would get that one. this was a lifetime movie original comedy without the hassle of commercials. i;m not going to dissect the stupidity and probability and believability of the plot because it simply isn't worth it. if you have your period, and you're eating a tub of ice cream with a side of candy bars in your pajamas or sweat pants you might tolerate this in all your stereotypical womanhood.

The Way Back

The Way Back (2010)

Writer: Peter Weir & Keith R. Clarke (screenplay), Slavomir Rawicz (novel)
Director: Peter Weir
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan

a group of guys escape from a gulag and walk from siberia to india. true story.

The Woman
better than i was expecting. i do have issue with the end. it was all about this long trek to freedom, they lost most of the group to exposure, dehydration, hypothermia and so on so forth, but then once they got to their destination there was just the rise and fall of communism montage and main guy now totally old goes home to poland. there was no epilogue text about what the hell he did for the whole life span of communism. i know what happened in communist history. i don't know what happened in janusz (main guy) history. yay! he made it! yes, it is truly amazing that he walked from sibera to india. however, i would like to know what he did with his freedom. i would also like to know what happened to the other three guys that made it. what did they do with their lives? did they join the army and fight in WWII? did they die? did they go to mime school? i would like to know these sorts of things. i feel cheated that i sat through all that surviving and didn't get a word on how it turned out. is that what the book is for? because i didn't like the movie that much.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Inception (2010)
Autered by Christopher Nolan
Starring Leo, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao

Dudes play around in dreamland in order to extract ideas from people.  The crowning achievement of such technology is the notion of "inception" or planting an idea in a person while they're dreaming.  In order to get his life back, one man assembles a team and tries to incept an idea.

The Woman 
i think this was too overly complicated. the effects were great. it was well made. but the plot was similar to "lost" in the way of bringing up a whole bunch of shit and then never mentioning it again. i feel like all the "rules" that were mentioned became superfluous and stopped applying once they went into cillian murphy's, i mean joseph gordon-levitt's, i mean, that other dude's, i mean ken watanabe's lost voidy coma thing. p.s. why was that lost place of veggie brain the same for everyone? why would dicaprio's city be in ken watanabe's twilight zone? also, again,why? i get why dicaprio's character did this extremely difficult mission, but why would anyone else do it? what did they have to gain? this seems like an incredibly extreme way to underhandedly dissolve a corporation. it comes off as a little shallow. like "duplicity". the fight scene between JGL and the bad subconscious security guy was really excellent and probably what i'll remember this move for when i walk away from it and this review.

if you can't tell this left me with a lot of questions that have distracted me from talking abut the actual movie. that said i did enjoy watching this. it's not a keeper like "batman begins" or "the dark knoight", but now i can say i've seen it.

This film was made well.  It was directed well, produced well, shot very well, acted well. The writing I give about a B- so let's get that part out of the way first.

I really enjoy the mechanics of the universe.  I think there's a lot of potential for in-person--and likely, unfortunately, MMO--role playing (though not by the group with which I play because we don't really play "turns" very well).  The ideas of "architecting" a dream and traveling within it and involving other people and having subconscious white blood cells and multiple levels of dreams and especially having the physics in the dream be impacted by the environment the dreamer is inhabiting are all really cool.

There was no pathos here.  I just didn't care about Mr. DiCaprio and his legal problems because the one thing the film did poorly was to develop his character (and secondary character motivation?  Pish tosh.).  Sure, we know about his wife's potential craziness.  But we get nothing which shows their love or his love for his kids or anything else.  (Or why he couldn't move the kids to a country with no extradition.  I won't bother with my other complaint about legality because I've been spouting it for days already).  There's supposedly all this subtext, and so many people talk about having to watch it more than once to get it, but while it's possible that I missed that stuff entirely I sincerely doubt that.  I get that people hide things from themselves and that things aren't always what they seem and blah blah.  This is not news.

But everything else *was* great.  The production was beautiful, regardless of reality.  The direction and photography showed us a complete, polished universe.  Each layer was different from the last and fully realized.  Action in a rotating and sliding world was interesting.  Acting itself, despite a lack of character background, was right.

The reaction to that, to an extent, is "whatever."  I mean, we watch fucking Transformers movies and have fun.  We watch all sorts of silly exercises which are paper thin in some instances and super thick in others and they leave us with thought which extends beyond the time it takes to write the reviews.  So why the negative reaction?  It's the arrogance vibe.  This movie knows its beans are super cool.  In fact, its makers know they're cooler than they actually are.