Queue Total

284 MOVIES (released titles only)

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

Queue Numbers

#50- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

#100- Black Swan

#200- Mysteries of Lisbon

Last- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spirited Killer

Note: Tony Jaa is not the star of this movie.
Spirited Killer (1994)
Written by Neung
Directed by Towatchai Ladloy, Panna Rittikrai
Starring  Panna Rittikrai. Tony Jaa (but not at all)

A corrupt doctor bamboozles a bunch of villagers into believing that can grant them immortality through a pretty elaborate ritual.  But he was lying in the Ben Kenobi way; as the immortality comes in the form of their life force making him immortal and invulnerable.  One dude tries to run him out of town, and all is quiet for five years, after which time this guy stays in the same place and starts killing people. 

The above is little more than an excuse to frame some vaguely interesting martial arts exhibitions.

I've decided that this movie is a direct homage to Friday 13thIt has most of the same elements, including the stupid tourists and the nonsensical relentlessness of the central villain.  It's interesting to me, because it succeeds equally (yet entirely differently) in not making any fucking sense at all.  There are also, because it's a Thai movie about kids, some really dumb subplots around a couple of women.  I fast-forwarded through those, because I don't need to see people pantomiming dogs panting, etc, with ridiculous sound effects too boot.  Similarly, there was an idiotic musical performance right around the halfway mark.

Maybe the film's lesson is that immortality is bad because it always backfires:  The patsies in the beginning essentially die immediately, and then the "doctor" is tied to the village and its surrounding few miles.  Who cares?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk

two country folk are mistaken for redneck serial killers by a group of college kids. hijinx ensue.

I don't want to write, "this is another example of a movie which was enjoyable but which is by no means good."  I don't want the introduction to this review to set you up for an evisceration.  I don't want to describe my enjoyment as 'visceral.'  In fact, I don't really want to write about this movie at all and I don't really know why.  But I'm pissy, so I will imply the things above and continue to spew from my fingertips, even though they're mitigated by decent performances and reasonably well thought out setpieces.

At a story level, the only thing this movie has going for it is its central conceit.  Leila remarked that it was fitting to portray the college kids as dumber than the yokels, and it was fitting in two ways: It's essential to the story, and it's the only real joke.  There's a lot of comedic mileage in tragic miscommunication, and this movie covers every inch of that highway and stops at every gas station. There are lots of chuckles at the interactions between some of the characters.

There are also plenty of guffaws, but once the film demonstrates its approach there's not really anywhere to go.  Once the police are involved, the miscommunication must become collateral damage from the other deaths;  otherwise there would be no happy ending.  In our culture, this is not the sort of movie which ends with innocent people in jail.

The Woman
i found this pretty durn funny. i love how the college kids were portrayed as the dumbfucks and the uneducated hicks were intelligent. there were several moments where both of us laughed out loud and that is rare in this curmudgeon house of ours. i will give anything with alan tudyk a chance. i think he's a funny guy. i specifically remember seeing this trailer on the site where i watch trailers that shall not be named, and thinking, eh, looks mildly funny... alan tudyk? sure. why not? so yeah. give it a shot because it's funny. the gore is great too. gore and funny. made me reminisce about "slither" which was another one that shocked me about it's funny content. and you know the whole alan tudyk, nathan fillion association.

These Amazing Shadows

These Amazing Shadows

Director: Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton

a documentary about the national film archive and the process and what movies have been chosen over the years and why.

This held my interest, and I've actually been thinking about it a fair amount on and off in the past week.  It's a movie chock full of discussions of great movies and clips from those endeavors.  I don't know how much of my admiration is due to the clips and how much is due to the creation of the film.  The interviews were good and while things were assembled in a pleasing fashion the flow was sometimes a little odd.

There's no subterfuge here--it's called "These Amazing Shadows," not "The National Film Registry,"--so what it does is to essentially document and capitalize on the affair between movie lovers and filmmakers.  With maybe 15 more minutes around the politics of the creation of the Registry and the maintenance thereof (specifically keeping the funding these days) it could have won on multiple fronts rather than split a barn door with a sledgehammer from a foot and a half away.

The Woman
good one. it's interesting for a person who likes movies like i do. it's all about reflections of our country's society through the years. i think it is just as important to save movies as it is to save any other art form for the future historically speaking.

Thursday, January 5, 2012



Writer: Karl Gajdusek
Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: NIK CAGE, Nicole Kidman reaching back into her "malice" days

a burglary goes awry in a diamond dealers mansion when he throws an unexpected wrench in the works by not cooperating. he loves his family. they love him. they are all full of piss and vinegar. they won't take shit lying down. i'm making this sound way more exciting than it actually is. flash back, flashback, attempt at twist, attempt at twist. fire. end.

The Woman
you know when you watch a movie and just from the opening title you think to yourself, oh christ, here we go. think of the "twilight saga: new moon" or......there are more.... this was one of those movies. end credits. joel schumacher. oh! that's why. of course. silly me. this was like every other schumacher movie. crummy and brainless. you don't have to think about anything while watching his movies. they are excellent opportunities for multitasking. in one ear, brain catches dialog. nuff said. i suppose sometimes that's what's needed. i'm not going to rip this one apart because, really, who cares. have you seen 8mm? yup.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Expendables

The (disposable) Expendables (2011)
Written by Dave Callaham (yes, with an M), Sylvester Stallone
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts, Angel from Dexter,
Guest appearances masquerading as starring roles by Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Randy Couture (?), Steve Austin
Special Appearance by Terry Crewes (as Hale Ceaser) 
I'm not actually governing, so why not cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger (fuck! I spelled that correctly the first time.)

1. Characters
1.1 Ringleader - young, English, uses knives
1.2 American - boxer, crack shot
1.3 Asian - martial arts, poor English
1.4 Temporary Turncoat - Russian, sequel availability required
1.5 Enemy ringleader - American industrialist
1.6 Enemy stooge - South American dictator
1.7 Primary love interest FOR AMERICAN ONLY - daughter of 1.6 - will require rescue
1.8 Secondary love interest - occasional girlfriend of one of the other characters - will require totally disconnected hand-to-hand fight scene

1.9 Mickey Rourke - somewhere, anywhere
1.10 Secondary characters from other successful action films
2. Plot
2.1 Association - Group of mercenaries
2.2 Mission - Overthrow dictator (extending to industrialist as required)
2.3 Attraction - 1.6 will be rescued during the successful completion of the mission
2.4 Deaths - Only tertiary "good" characters will die.  All primary "bad" characters will die.

Now, give me a million dollars.

The Woman 
jesus christ. i love when movies like this come along. don't flip your lid because i didn't think this was a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the potential to make fun of this movie is an endless pit that just keeps on giving. these are some quotes from my book while watching this movie. unabridged :

  • this is like adam sandler's last dump known as "grown ups" but instead of late 80's-90's SNL not funny comics it's 80's -90's not funny action aged movie stars.
  • you can tell these dudes are hardcore because they have tattoos and drive motorcycles. it's like ernest borgnine's monologue in "baseketball"  you crazy kids and your hulahoops and zima and dan fogelbird. only an old man thinks shit like that signals hardcore tuff stuff.
  • eric roberts is the pippa middleton of this movie. he totally upstages sly in the cool. 
  • this is like "dynasty" for the juiceheads.
here's one that i didn't write down: if only sylvester stallone didn't have those cheek implants. he could be beating guys in the face with his mighty jowls. or we could go with his old man balls. same thing really. only with the testicles there would be no metaphor to his fighting. seriously i could go on forever. gold i tell you, gold.

this movie had a plot. it was just secondary to the chaos of watching these old guys (minus stathem. i guess he's not pensioner age yet and jet li doesn't count either because not only would i say 2 lines make you star in this movie, but i would also say he's asian so he can't be counted as old until he's 900) where was i? oh, yeah the plot is secondary to the nonsense of watching old men blow people up and fight and stuff. i'm not going to linger too much in the plot made by a second grader because it's obviously not the point to the movie. i will harp on the action sequences though. this was obviously what it was all about. however, let me whisper in your ear sylvester. you got that hearing aid turned up? i couldn't tell what the fuck was going on in your terribly directed action sequences. it was a jumbly mess. just guys fighting and explosions and gut spraying (that last one i did appreciate). i couldn't tell who was who. there were a couple shots where i saw the cataracts in your eyes though, maybe that was the problem? speaking of eyes what was with all the super tight shots of the face one or two of those would suffice. we didn't need one in practically every scene. you guys aren't that good of actors (exception again-the willis) your emoting makes us laugh.

we had a in depth discussion on our couch whether this was supposed to be a totally for serious serious action movie and not an over the top on purpose ridiculous fest. i think our conclusion was, sadly the latter. now where's my copy of "cobra"!

PS we are totally going to watch the sequel. rest assured mr. stallone.
PSS what's up with statham. i hate that guy. the arrogance vibe oozes from every orifice of his slimy gross personage. plus it's totally undeserved. what have you done guy to be so cool? the transporter all 11 of them? death race? i want to punch in the face with my girly ass punch. it would probably make you cry.

Oh, who cares?  This was quite fun to ridicule.  My favorite part was the POV shot after Stallone dropped to the ground and rolled onto his back to take a shot and the camera did a 180 along a perfectly straight axis, with no shakiness at all (i.e. just like it would happen in real life).

I could give you a similar few hundred words to my woman's--though I admit to not having read the whole thing yet; we don't read each other's stuff until we're done with our own--but while I took a lot of joy in watching this movie and feeling superior in every way but checking account I also wasn't really moved.  This is no First Blood : Part II, though it tries to be.

In the Loop

In the Loop (2009)
Writer: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Ianucci, Tony Roche
Director:  Armando Ianucci
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison

I didn't pay enough attention to this one, to the point where I forgot about Gandolfini until I was looking for posters.  It's about the interaction between various government agencies and the posturing both within and between those organizations.  We view it largely from the perspective of fairly junior people and are asked to sympathize with the British.

The Woman
ok. we watched this one awhile ago and forgot to write about it. this is one of those movies where it's comedy, while you're laughing, you say to yourself this is totally not funny because it's probably incredibly true. i laughed out loud more than once. it's british. it's about government, and uk government relations with america. it's got "my girl" in it. if any of those things appeals to you you should check it out. but like i said, i totally believe this to be a nonfictional portrait of the ego and ridiculousness in high levels of bureaucratic government.

While I should have paid more attention to this one, the film didn't do a very good job of hooking me.  I can talk about the story but not the technical shit.

Given the political environments I've been asked to inhabit recently, the way the characters behaved rang true to me.  The ambition at every level is a real thing, as is the need to feel important and a member of something bigger than one's self.  I can totally see international politics working this way and in a way reminiscent of Judge that's both compelling and depressing.

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Mark Boal
Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

A chronicle of some of the incidents in a super-awesome bomb squad in Iraq.

The Woman
me enjoyed this. i just watched a documentary on PTSD through all of the wars that america has been in, and this brought a lot of that kind of stuff into play. it makes me very sad and very aware of the stupidity and pointlessness of it all. some of the shots in this were a little outrageous and unessecary, it must be said, but as a whole the direction was done right to fit the topic.

going into this, what, a year after it won at the oscars, i thought most of the suspense would come from the bomb disarming stuff, but a very smart move was made, and all the suspense came from the danger of the surroundings. good job, lady.

This movie didn't do as much for me as it did for the vast majority of Americans.  It didn't make my heart gape, or whatever the fuck it was supposed to do.  I just wrote, "there wasn't much of a story," and deleted it; because that's not true.  I don't know.  I wanted to care about the characters, but it just wasn't happening for me (and it's certainly not happening now, however many fucking weeks later).

Academically-critically, however, this is very good.  Tension in the individual scenes comes across very well, and I actually found myself leaning forward in anticipation.  A slew of (possibly too many) techniques were employed in the presentation of this material; and there was only one egregious "STFU, director" moment.

There are other positives about this.  I expected it to have won Best Picture because of its political relevance and some kid of soapbox stance; and I didn't find that to be the case at all.  In addition, being a war picture it escaped the standard curse of "you know that the good guys will live" on the studio logo.

Friday Night

Friday Night / Vendredi Soir (2002)

Written by Emmanuèle Bernheim (book and script)
Directed by Claire Denis
Starring Valérie Lemercier, Vincent Lindon

a woman is moving in with her boyfriend. there is a public transportation strike going on so everyone in paris is driving a car stuck in standstill traffic because no one can take the metro or a bus. despite being freaked out by a guy near her apartment, and locking her car door, she feels guilty and gives some other dude a ride in his car. where is he going? what's his story? it doesn't matter. that would ruin the sketchy mysterious quality of this character. they end up going to a hotel and having the equivalent of lifetime movie sex. several times. then dinner. then more sex. then she leaves in the morning. movie over.

I'm on the defensive too much with these things.  I bite off more than I can chew.  People who tend to agree with me make things sounds more interesting than they are.  Someone involved with this movie thinks that palm-on-the-face is erotic; I don't.  I could probably forgive that and have another public (in front of MAYBE 20 people) argument with my woman if un-sexy sex were the only transgression.

There's more to this than just pretty shots--in fact, the aesthetic here is not "pretty"--because the camera does a good job of setting mood, showing how she's sketched out by this guy and then how they come to some kind of rapport. 

I am going to talk about the presentation of the story for a minute, because neither of us could figure it out.  The woman is getting ready to move in with her boyfriend, and this is a big deal for her.  One aspect which I actually appreciate and respect is how she's not 19 years old: She has a life in the apartment she's leaving; and her nervousness at leaving rings true.  But once she exits, there's some kind of break with reality.  It's utterly unclear when things are actually happening and when they're happening in her head.  I'm not sure if it's one break or multiple--and I'm reasonably confident that this isn't a language barrier issue--but the foundation of the story keeps shifting.  Where did the traffic go all of a sudden?  How the fuck did her car disappear?  Etc.  A more-solid conclusion would have helped with our understanding.

The Woman
holy shit this was terrible. this was one where moster just kept repeating to me as i complained, "but it's shot well." yeah, so! super boring and poor storytelling overrides cinematography. especially at this level. i'm sorry i watched this. you should feel sorry for me too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

Writer: John Davies
Director: Jason Eisner
Starring: Rutger Hauer

the title pretty much calls it. a hobo dreaming of buying a lawnmower gets fed up woth out of control crime and buys a shotgun instead for some vigilante justice!

While watching this film one should choose to believe in a world in which there is a limited federal government and those limits allow for towns which are essentially anarchistic and where the people, for whatever reason, choose to continue to live.  Also in this imaginary world, there are demonic roles which are filled by the feller.

This is a world consisting of two Ts and four facades, populated by caricatures and cutouts, where science such as skin sturdiness, and school sled speed are problems pedantic.

What all this adds up to is that you really don't have to try very hard to understand the plot; but like all exploitation exercises the point is not that it's a short, ruler-straight line from A to B but what's written above the little dots along the way.  In that respect this film is a wild success.  Hauer especially, with his sub-English teeth, chews the scenery much like one would turn a glass bottle into sand.  Gory flourishes abound beyond reason; the viewer is numbed before the minute counter gains a second digit.  Direction is self-aware beyond bliss. 

We had raucous fun while watching this, but it's not actually good.

The Woman
this had some great moments. flame throwing a school bus full of children, topless girls beating some dude hanging upside down with bats for some background entertainment at the bad guy's house, exposed arm bone used as a stabbing weapon. i appreciate the campyness of this movie. rutger hauer did a good one with his role of angry hobo.  that's all this is tough. just camp. if your into that you might want to check this movie out. it won't blow your mind with it's story or exposed guts, but it will make you smile from time to time. and that was the purpose for which it was made.

The Go-Getter

The Go Getter (2007)

Writer: Martin Hynes
Director: Martin Hynes
Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel

after his mother dies, this kid decides to carpe diem and steals a car to go find his older half brother he barely knows to tell him their mother has died and ask if he wants to go with him to spread her ashes. being the shady character that he is the brother is very elusive and this kid ends up on this epic road trip meeting characters along the way.

The Woman
yeah. this was this. independent road trip movie with a little romance in there.  the epitome of it's genre. i'm not saying i didn't like it, because i think i did. i'll just probably forget i watched it. lou taylor pucci was good. as he is in everything he does. zooey deschanel played her zooey deschanel. actually. i just looked this up on imdb, and i'll cut it some slack because it was made in 2007.  it had a very fitting open end. i appreciate when movies can do endings right. i feel it's a rare gift to know how to end shit.