29 July 2011

25 July - "When an ugly chick dies...it's no big deal"

Flypaper (2011)
dir. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, 1994)

Patrick Dempsey (Outbreak, 1995)
Ashley Judd (Heat, 1995)
Mekhi Phifer (Dawn of the Dead, 2004)
Jeffrey Tambor (There's Something About Mary, 1998)
Octavia Spencer (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, 2005)
Curtis Armstrong (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 2000)
John Ventimiglia (Party Girl, 1995)
Adrian Martinez (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, 2007)

I'm almost not sick anymore! a couple days ago (more by the time I finish and publish this) I watched Flypaper On Demand with my mom. It was fun with a cute twist at the end, I liked it better than Ocean's Eleven, but I hated that movie (you know how sometimes a movie seems smart but clearly it is not? This is true for mostly everything).

I'm also super-stressed by some...unpleasantness..which makes a thinky and/or feely movie an undesirable option because all of my feelings are melting into anxiety and unhappiness and all of my thinkings are devolving into self esteem issues. Plus my sinuses are clogged up. It's been a rough week :(

Sorry to get self-indulgent there.

I never heard of this movie before I read the synopsis on the TV. It seemed okay and it was so indeed. Patrick Dempsey's character was schizophrenic or something, and Ashley Judd was the "strait man." Basically two robberies occur simultaneously in the same bank, and as the criminals squabble over how to get into the vault and what to do with the hostages, Patrick Dempsey races about using his super-observation skills to figure who murdered the guy who died in the first gunfight, and why. There are more than 2 bank robberies going on here!

The only thing I'm unclear on is whether or not Dempsey was in on it the whole time.

28 July 2011

24 July - "Oh-llo?"

Megamind (2010)
dir. Tom McGrath (Madagascar, 2005)
Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction, 2006)
Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading, 2008)
Tina Fey (Ponyo (voice), 2008)
Jonah Hill (Strange Wilderness, 2008)
David Cross (Small Soldiers, 1998)
Ben Stiller (The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)
J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading, 2008)

A couple things come to mind when I'm thinking about how to start this one. The first is that I really just don't care for these chintzy computer-animated movies with the bright colors and the vomitingly (I made that an adverb) predictable ending and the complete and utter lack of charm.

I guess it was like, six or eight months ago when a fella asked me if I wanted to see this with him. I like it when someone asking me out has already picked the movie (or whatever the plan is, since a friend of mine told me that movie as a first date is bullshit because you're supposed to be engaging with each other) - but if we are going to see a movie I like it when the guy has already chosen one because it seems lazy otherwise. As if, hey I want to hang out with you, can you organize an interesting and fun evening? No, I say, if you want my company so bad, you gotta do the legwork.

Anyway, so my normal M.O. is to agree to whatever movie my prospective suitors suggest, because at that point I'm more interested in the person than the movie (a surprising confession, I know. This is why I ended up seeing Superman Returns TWICE in the theaters! But I still think the worst date movie I ever sat through was Enchanted, which ended up being quite pleasant when I watched it later on DVD with some girlfriends, so yeah, I think the company you've got during a movie is important)

I am having a hard time getting to the point. The point is that even though it usually doesn't matter to me what movie a guy picks, and even though I hate picking date movies, and even though I really liked this guy and wanted to go out with him, I was still like, Hells no, I don't wanna see Megamind, I will call you back in 20 minutes with a revised itinerary. We ended up seeing It's Kind of a Funny Story instead; it was a rather arid week for cinema in Athens, but I thought it was a reasonably good choice. It didn't work out, though, c'est la vie.

So I watched it because I wanted to watch something On Demand with my lil bro, we also saw Tangled (upcoming!) and we may resort to Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. It was fun with him because we laughed at the funny jokes, but, honestly, this movie was artless, it wasn't cute at all, it was pandering and easy and heavy-heavy and clumsy, like someone who's trying too hard to be your new best friend and I just wanted to be alone after the whole confrontation.

My brain is all over the place right now. Still sick in bed, by the by.

27 July 2011

23 July - "Fellas like you and me, we don't run."

The Warrior's Way (2010)
dir. Sngmoo Lee

Dong-gun Jang
Kate Bosworth (The Rules of Attraction, 2002)
Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth, 1998)
Danny Huston (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995)
Tony Cox (Beetlejuice, 1988)

I'm sick with some sort of heinous derivation of a summertime flu and life is basically miserable for me now as I sit and wait to see how my body will let me down next. The silver lining is that this is a perfect time to take advantage of Mom's On Demand and buy all these movies that I've been wanting to see (and a few just so my little brother will sit quietly with me).

From the descriptions I've read (because I don't think I actually watched a trailer for it) I was expecting a sort of inverted spaghetti-western, but running that phrase through my brain, I'm not exactly sure what that means. I guess I was thinking about The Magnificent Seven, which isn't a spaghetti western at all (usually when people are talking about those, they are thinking about Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) --Rather, The Magnificent Seven was westernized retelling of The Seven Samurai, which I've never seen but it's probably something I should get around to.

So I guess my point is that this movie is like how a Japanese person imagines and idealizes the old American West. It is spare in scenery and props, but all of the ones that are there are over-the-top and in-your-face. The villain is villainous, barely humanized. He rapes girls with good teeth. The hero is quiet and noble with a dark past. He barely speaks. The ending scene was anticlimactic, totally unnecessary to the conclusion of the story arc, but upon exit interviews, this scene held my little brother's favorite line of the movie, and my mother's favorite part as well. So, buttons.

This movie is good. It's unexpected and totally different. It uses a few common tropes, like the typical old-time circus characters, but these are satisfying and not boring. Kate Bosworth is sort of annoying as always (can I say poor-man's Jessica Simpson, or is that too cruel?) being the spunky-girl-in-the-old-west. OK, I get it. You're like Annie Oakley. Let's not overkill the folksy expressions.

I feel like this review was vague. I'm tired and sick and I have to make my own chicken soup and the kitchen stove doesn't work. Next I think I'm reviewing Megamind or else that one is coming up soon.

11 July 2011

20 July - "Ride till we find them, and kill them all"

The 13th Warrior (1999)

dir. John McTiernan (Die Hard, 1988)

Antonio Banderas (Desperado, 1995)
Tony Curran (Ondine, 2009)
Omar Sharif (10,000 B.C. (voice), 2008)
Erick Avari (Mr. Deeds, 2002)
Diane Venora (Heat, 1995)

I don't think I can emphasize enough how much I enjoyed watching this masterpiece. If you haven't seen this, and you have a healthy appreciation for the ludicrous - I recommend you hop to the task immediately.

Apparently the script is based upon a Michael Crichton book called Eaters of the Dead, which I never even heard of, and I love Michael Crichton! So obviously there's a trashy novel I need to read.

The premise is a treasure. First of all, Antonio is playing an Arab. Really? Did anyone really think this could be pulled off effectively? He doesn't even TRY to change his accent. No one is buying this:
On the other hand, I think we can all get behind this:
Yeah, brother, get medieval on those cannibals!

OK- so Antonio Banderas is an Arabian diplomat who, for unclear reasons, is sent to Europe to live with the brutish Northmen, who are like Vikings, I guess. You might say there's a little twist where the Europeans appear to be barbaric and gross while the Arab guy is clean and dignified, can read and write, and practices a monotheistic religion (I will say it again, but watching Antonio Banderas pretending to be Muslim is totally rich). The plot thickens when our beturbaned hero is sent with twelve Viking warriors to assist a neighboring kingdom with a dark enemy threatening their well being. It turns out these evil dudes live a lot like those cultists in Temple of Doom:
I've been sick with some god-awful derivation of a summer flu. So I haven't felt up to much besides watching movies and past seasons of Hell's Kitchen. So I'm like five movies behind on my blog entries, and I'm also trying to make a post on my 10 favorite actresses I just haven't quite figured out who they all are yet (there are some surprises in there). So stay tuned, few and far-between readers.

07 July 2011

6 July - "You got city hands, Mr. Hooper. Been countin' money all your life."

Jaws (1975)

dir. Steven Spielberg (Hook, 1991)

Roy Scheider
Robert Shaw
Richard Dreyfuss (James and the Giant Peach (voice), 1996)
Carl Gottlieb (The Jerk, 1979)

I not sure why, but for some reason I'm just totally not in the mood for writing about Jaws. Which is odd because I would about myself that, at given moment, I am on average 70% enthusiastic about talking about Jaws (and sometimes I'm sleepy or hungry and I don't really feel like talking about anything at all, so obviously that skews the statistics.)

Despite this setback, we will press on. Jaws is one of the most iconic American films ever. Consider the soundtrack, DUN DUNT! - two notes that are immediately recognizable and undoubtedly creepy. How about that perpetually misquoted line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."?

And the villian! There are no special effects, there's no sinister back story. It's not a mutant shark, it's not a super shark, it's not a particularly clever shark. None of that, this movie appeals to the basic shared human instinct: sharks are creepy as fuck. AH! There's one here!

Look at those unfeeling black eyes, the mouth that doesn't seem to fit quite right on it's head. If you can call that a head. It just sort of tapers at the front end of the body. Would you even call it a snout?

Sharks are just one of those animals that when I see them in real life I just have to say AH! because I really cannot wrap my head around the fact that I am sharing the planet with something that is so different from me. It's like, what are you doing in my universe?

And if you don't feel anything like that sort of feeling then there is not enough wonder in your life.

The major conflict of the movie is that even as Chief Brody knows that the shark will kill again, Mayor Vaughn doesn't want to close the beaches on fourth of July weekend, the big tourist holiday and the major source of revenue for Amity Island. Isn't it so true that we refuse to account for the primal forces of nature as we are making our personal agendas? Mayor Vaughn's conscious cognitive dissonance stems from the belief that nature is something controlled and subjected. The horror of Jaws is the in-your-face reality that this enormous animal is very real - it's in the world with us right now, and it's bigger than you and it's underwater and it can kill you so, so easily and if it decides to chill out off the coast of New England during tourist season there isn't a lot you can do about it. That's scary stuff, right there.

And my favorite part, because I'm also tired, and I want to go home.