Saturday, May 15, 2010

La Ediccion Internationale reviews de peliculas

I know, I know.

You poor bastards have been sitting on the edges of your collective seats, paralyzed about what movies to rent ALL month! How could I do this to you? Who do I think I am? Jerkwad.

Hey, hey easy on the insults. I perform this service for free! Ingrates.

Okay, enough of the transcribing the voices in my head, I’m here to review movies! This will be what I call the international edition. I decided to breakout of my wheelhouse of slasher flicks and Michael Bay movies to watch some foreign language/arty flicks. You should know I also consider that “reading.” So, this will double as book reviews for my non-existent book review blog.

The Stoning of Soraya M


This movie is about an Iranian woman who is accused of adultery after she refuses to grant her husband a divorce. It stars Berooz’s mom from Season 4 of 24 and the guy who played Jesus in that Jesus movie that caused Mel Gibson to lose his damn mind. I don’t know very much about Iran, but this movie made me real angry at the Iranians. If there was an Iranian here right now, I would not offer him a glass of water. And then I’d say “that thirst? That there is for Soraya M.” And then I’d stomp off. Or not. Probably not a good idea to leave a thirsty Iranian alone in my living room. Ahem.
But back to the movie. It’s very melodramatic, but I like Berooz’s mom’s voice. She’s like Kathleen Turner without having to look at Kathleen Turner. And the rest of the cast is good too. It gets bloody though, and like I said, you won’t want to give water to Iranians for a while.


Death at a Funeral


The original one. Not the one with black people. Cause I don’t know who you think you are that you thought you’d be able to rent the black people one before it even came out in the theaters. I mean, Hollywood doesn’t know that you co-write a movie blog that gets ones and ones of readers every month! Moving on. Actually, despite the shock of expecting Chris Rock and instead seeing British people speaking English so funny sounding you can hear them putting the u into words where it doesn’t belong, I quite enjoyed this film. It’s about a family that comes together for the funeral of its patriarch. The dad’s secret love comes to light in the form of a blackmailing midget. Other secrets start pouring forth AND Alan Tudyk is in it! Love him. Highly recommend.

Eyes Wide Shut
It took me nine days, one afternoon, to watch this movie. I still don’t know what it was about. I think Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were in it, but there were a lot of masks. This movie IS TERRIBLE! Stay away! STAY FAR FAR FAR AWAY. You’re welcome.


Amreeka


This movie is SO adorable, yet heartbreaking at the same time. It’s about a Palestinian woman and her son. They decide to come to America after the dad divorces her for some young trollop and abandons the family. The mom packs all these treats and whatnot from home, but, as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center are fresh in everyone’s minds, the TSA takes it all away from them at the airport. Unfortunately, she had put all of her money in a tin of cookies that got thrown away. They are staying with her sister’s family, but the sister’s husband, a doctor, has hit hard times because people have become suspicious that he might be a terrorist. So, the woman tries to get a job, but no one will hire her except White Castle. The son, previously an A student, gets into fights with the other kids who call him “Osama.” The entire cast is great, the story is wonderful, and I highly recommend it!

Big Fan


This movie made me uncomfortable. Based on the cover, I thought it was about a football fan going to football games with his buddies and having a good time…nope. It’s about a 38-year-old football fan who lives with his mother, works in a parking garage and then at night calls into sports shows to stan for the New York Giants (Oh, I learned that “stan” is slang for rooting/cheering/bragging about a person or team. I am a Patriots/Obama stan. All the kids are saying it.) Anyway, one night he is out with his friends and spots one of the defensive backs for the Giants out at a club. He goes up to the guy and starts trying to talk to him, but the DB thinks the guy is hitting on him homosexually and beats him within an inch of his life. He wakes from a coma, three days later and has a choice to make: file charges against the Giants’ only hope to make the playoffs and sue the dude for a fortune, or stay quiet and continue living his loser existence. And well, he chooses…well…actually he chooses option C. It’s weird, man. But I guess it’s good. In a weird, weird way. But the bottom line here? The Giants suck!

Assassination of a High School President


If you liked “Brick,” you might like this movie. It’s kinda got that same “high school kids behaving in very corrupt adult ways” vibe. The movie is about just what the title says, the fall of the school President and who was behind it. I did not like Brick. Also, it stars Mischa Barton from the OC and NOBODY likes her. So, with the Brick caveat, skip this flick.

Fever Pitch


It’s such a good thing I learned the word stan before I wrote these movie reviews! This movie is about a Red Sox stan! I mean SERIOUS. Even worse than I am with the Patriots. This is not April recommended it and I LOVED it. Even though it involves good things happening to the Red Sox and Jimmy Fallon. Two things I’m not usually crazy about. It’s a romantic comedy where Red Sox stan Jimmy Fallon has to choose between his beloved baseball and his work-a-holic girlfriend Drew Barrymore. Or does he…

Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino

Blockbuster has this “if you liked this movie, you’ll love” feature. I assume that’s how I ended up with this documentary in my mailbox. I clicked on Fever Pitch and now Big Brother thinks I want to see more movies where good things happen to the Red Sox. I DON’T! YA HEAR ME, SUPERCOMPUTER IN THE SKY?? I DON’T!! Anyway, I actually ended up really loving this movie cause 1. Most of it is spent going over the 86 year long curse on the Red Sox where nothing good at all happens to them! YAY! 2. That's then followed by an in depth look at the 1986 World Series where, as you know, MY OWN beloved baseball team emerges triumphant. I started live tweeting the movie as I was watching doing #Classictweets where I cheered Bill Buckner! It was kinda awesome. Then at the end, well, the stupid fucking damn Yankees ruin all our lives. The End. Moral of that story? The Yankees suck!

Drop Dead Gorgeous


Sigh. I bet this movie would have been hilarious if I had seen it before Brittany Murphy died. Instead, I spent a lot of it sighing about her dying at the young young young WAY TOO young age of 34. Frowny face. For real. Anyway, the movie is about a beauty pageant that turns deadly when the contestants start being murdered one by one – also not helping me NOT think about Murphy’s death. I guess it’s still funny in a way. But also sad.

It’s Complicated


Do you know how I know I might be a Meryl Streep stan? Because I didn’t hate this movie. And oh man, I should hate this movie. It’s about adulterers and rich white people and “crazy bitches” who expect their husbands to pull their weight and raise the children (craaaazzzzyyy) and whiny annoying twenty-somethings who are all “waaa your divorce really hurt our feelings” (oh, grow a pair.) And yet, I kinda didn’t hate it. I will not go so far as to recommend it.

Crazy Heart

You should know that Tideland has ruined Jeff Bridges for me. Whenever I see him, I picture him in a rocking chair with a blackened tongue sticking out. That is to say, I shut my eyes and rock myself to sleep while sucking my thumb and crying for my mama. GROSS. I guess this movie is about an aging rocker with an alcohol problem who falls in love with a single mom. But then he loses her son at a mall and she realizes he’s not the man she needs in her life. So he tries to change for her. Or something. It was hard to tell through the shut eyes and the sobbing.

Disgrace


Wow. Blockbuster says I rented this movie, but I have NO idea…ohhh…I KNOW. This movie stars John Malkovich as a sicko womanizing University Professor in South Africa. He pressures one of his students to have sex with him and begins to stalk her when she tries to end the relationship. He is forced out of his school and has to go live in the country with his gay daughter. She is the only white farmer surrounded by blacks who have just been given back their land after decades of racial oppression. They hate her. She and her father are attacked by young black boys, and are severely injured. She is impregnated in the attack. She is too scared to report them and ends up entering into an allegiance with one of the boys' father so that he will protect her from future attacks. Hmm. I might have just told you the entire movie. Oh, wait, no. After his daughter’s attack Malkovich realizes rape is wrong and goes to apologize to the girl he stalked. Okay. Now I’ve told you the whole movie. I'm not sorry. It was boring anyway.

The Man Who Wasn’t There

I don’t know which man they are talking about. I saw Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Soprano and Jimmy from The Practice. They were all totally there. I didn’t see any men who weren’t there. Or maybe I did, but didn’t notice cause they weren’t there. Yes, as you can tell, I got tricked into another Coen Brothers’ movie. But I didn’t want to kill myself after this one! It had an ending that made sense, a beginning and a middle. It was tragic, yet funny and I highly recommend it. There were some great lines too…but now I don’t remember which ones they were. It’s about a barber and his wife, who is cheating on him and his plan for revenge and dry cleaning. Good watch!

Deep Blue Sea

I know I said I took a break from slasher flicks…I lied. Kinda. Do shark attacks count as “slashings”? If so, then I lied; if not, then I’m in the clear. There are A LOT of shark attacks in this movie. Like, you can’t throw a stick at the screen without hitting a shark attack. The cast is good, there’s no one that you’re hoping gets eaten. The sharks are scary and there are some surprise deaths – which is totally surprising since you kinda start expecting deaths, what with all the shark attacks. Definite rent!

Pirate Radio

Can I tell you how much I loved this movie? Oh yeah, it’s my post! So I totally can! I loved this movie! It’s set off the coast of Britain and it's about some renegade DJs who play the rock and roll music and say bad words on the radio while the easily corrupted boys and girls on the motherland listen on their portable radios. The cast is helmed by that chubby geek dude who was in all the movies ten years ago – Philip Seymour Hoffman. And some other people. The government decides to shut them down and they decide to fight back. Then stuff happens…go see it!


The Damned United


I LOVED this movie too! Even though it’s about soccer because really it’s not so much about soccer as about the hunger for absolute power and world domination…in the world of soccer. But still. The main guy is famous for some other British movie that I can't think of now (Frost v. Nixon He was Frost...not Nixon), he is great in this as the coach of a second rate team who longs for a shot at the big leagues. When he gets the call, though, he turns on his closest friend and finds that the brass ring doesn’t necessarily come with a side of happiness. Wow. That may be the worst sentence I have ever constructed in my life. And I’m counting essays I wrote in elementary school when I was first learning English. Shudder.

Coco Avant Chanel

This is ANOTHER great movie about a person motivated by ambition to get ahead in the world. However, the movie is in French. But Audrey Tatou makes that seem not so bad. She is flirty and charming and stunning – yet, tough and you are rooting for her the whole way. Just terrific to watch her go from mistress to master of the fashion world.

Ninja Assassin

Can I tell you how much I adore movies that are about exactly what their titles say they’re about? A lot! Ninja assassins, on the other hand, turns out to be about pastry chefs in Louisiana! Ha! I kid. NO, sillies, it’s about NINJA ASSASSINS! And not just any ninja assassins the very bestest ninja assassins you’ve ever NOT seen right before they cut your arms off. This movie is super bloody. Like... red and sticky all the time. People die swiftly and in many many parts. But they also manage to cram a love story or two in there. The woman lead is a black chick, so I liked that and the fight scenes are cool. It’s about a secret order of ninjas who get paid to kill people. But it’s the modern day, so the dead bodies attract the attention of this lady detective. But the ninjas don’t want her ruining their ninja game, so they send a ninja to kill her. But he has his own agenda! Dun dun dun dun!

Fanboys

This movie sucked. Blows. Bites. Eats it. Etc. It’s about three Star Wars fans who try to break into the Lucas compound to steal a copy of Episode 1 because their friend is dying and won’t be alive for the premiere. They take a van cross country. There a lot of drug jokes and hookers and dweebs getting chicks that are way too hot for them. Ugh. After I saw this I tweeted Veronica Mars that she owed me an apology cause I saw this cause she was in it…though that wasn’t exactly true. I saw it cause I went to high school with one of the three friends.

The Longshots

This movie is about a little black girl who becomes the star Quarterback for her sucky community pee wee football league! What’s NOT to like? Okay, besides the clich├ęd script, terrible acting, cheap production, and lame plot. Black girl! Playing football! Sigh.


Astro Boy


I think this movie was one of the more depressing animated movies I’ve ever seen. And please remember Bambi’s mom gets shot in the first 15 minutes of that flick. Although, I’m not so weepy weepy about animal deaths. Anyway, in THIS movie A LITTLE BOY is killed in the first 15 minutes! And then his grief stricken dad has his memories transplanted into a robot version of the boy who doesn’t know he’s a robot. And THEN fifteen minutes after that, the dad has substitute son remorse and THROWS the robot boy out! Brutal. So there he is, all alone in the world, and he hooks up with a ragtag bunch of human orphans. But they HATE robots! So he has to pretend to be a real boy. Frowny face. I do not recommend this movie. Not for kids, not for adults, not for robots. Boo.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

F-train said I would hate this movie. I try not to say this too often, but F-train was right. The performances were terrible. The storyline was implausible. Ugh. Just dumb and a waste of time. I don’t even remember how it ends. Just that I thanked baby Jesus when it did.

Old Dogs

Another sucktacular vehicle brought to you by John Travolta. Blah. Robin Williams and John Travolta went down to Florida to celebrate Robin’s divorce, he hooks up with Kelly Preston (Robin does, not John, which…ewww.) and knocks her up. 13 years later, Kelly is going to jail for some enviroterrorism thing and she finds Robin so that he can take care of the twins while she’s inside. Even though he never met them or knew they existed before. Uh huh. Right. Sure. Anyway, he does, hijinks ensue. He and Kelly get married and then John Travolta gets married too and everybody lives happily ever after. Cue the rolled eyes.

Soul Men
What a sad way for Isaac Hayes and Bernie Mac to go out. As I watched this movie, I tweeted that the two men likely died of embarrassment after watching the first cut of this movie. Samuel L. Jackson remains protected by the Snakes on a Plane vaccine. I stand by that. Do not see this movie. Under any circumstances. It’s awful. And deadly.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Speaking of awful and deadly…skip this movie too. It’s not worse. But it tried real hard.


Broken Embraces


Back to my foreign languages theme. It’s an Almodovar film within an Almodovar film. It’s about a film maker who is known for dramas and arty movies deciding he wants to make a comedy. He ends up falling in love with the actress he hires to play the lead, her jealous husband, who is financing the picture, flies into a rage and attacks her. The two lovers decide to run away, a tragedy befalls them and the director ends up blinded. However, he learns that you don’t need eyes to make art. Awww. It’s decent. Unless you don’t like Almodovar. Then it’s wretched. I like Almodovar though.

How to Make an American Quilt


This movie offended me as an American, a woman, a drinker of wine, an eater of fruit, a driver of cars, a swimmer, a listener to of music, a watcher of movies, a fan of Maya Angelou. Oh, and as a user of quilts. Can we arrest Winona Ryder for making bad movies?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

I am horribly delinquent in my Filmchaw posting...though Julius Goat has not even attempted to take advantage of the delay. He's the worst opponent I have ever faced.

Anyway, I saw this movie in the theater, with my mommy and it was FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! THIS is what Avatar should have been!

HowToTrainYourDragon

It's an animated story of a little Viking boy who lives on an island where dragon attacks are a daily occurrence. His father is the leader of the Viking clan and the biggest strongest bravest dragon fighter of them all.

But, he is, well, a little boy.

He's scrawny and bony and can't fight dragons. Not even a little bit.

His dad is all disappointed in him, so he tries to invent things to help bridge the gap between his physical shortcomings and the task of dragon fighting. One of these things is a slingshot type device (homage to David and Goliath duly noted.) Well, he tries out his slingshot and LO AND BEHOLD...IT WORKS! Um...by accident. He takes down one of the fastest, deadliest dragons! But when he runs down to where his prey had fallen he sees he's just wounded it...as he moves in for the kill...well, as the title is "How to Train your dragon," I don't think it's a spoiler to say he finds he just can't kill it. So...he trains it!

I won't say anymore, but it's a WONDERFUL story and cleverly done and Ugly Betty is the voice of the girl! And the girl is cool and kickass!

It was my mommy's first 3D movie watching experience and at the end she commented "It felt like the ash was getting in my eye."

So there's that. But don't worry. The ash isn't really getting in your eye.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The World According to Ion B.


From the 70's to the 90's, Ion Barladeanu created art. The son of a staunch, abusive Communist organizer, he left his Romanian village for Budapest Bucharest*. He was arrested by Ceausescu's regime for working in the private sector - as a gravedigger.

If they'd found out about his "movies" - still collages created from magazine clippings, they'd have killed him.

Homeless for over two decades, doing odd jobs for a maintenance man in a neighbourhood where he's barely tolerated, Ion continued his art. But he showed nobody. His fear of being caught by the communists too great. When the regime fell, he still kept it his own.

The World According to Ion B. is a documenatary about this artist. In 2007, another artist was digging through the same garbage as Ion and was shown his art. He quickly went to a gallery owner and over 900 pieces, the life's work of an artist, was ready to be shown to the world.

The movie itself is serviceable. Like many documentaries, it's the subject that makes it. Barladeanu is charming, amusing, likeable, and irascible. A drunk, an artist, and an incredibly blunt person, Ion is the movie. We get a glimpse of the artist as he struggles with his new fame. As the director said after the film - "You can't take someone who lived like a dog for 20 years and expect him to be normal."

His art is regularly shown, and it is brilliant. Pop art, Dada, shades of Warhol, and even bits of 16th century artist Hieronymus Bosch show up... and he's never heard of any of them. A pure artist, without training, and without the influence of the art world. What was on his cardboard was what he wanted to say. The pieces speak for themselves. In many cases, they are "his movies". Entire stories told in a snapshot.

An online exhibit of a small sample of his work can be found here.

900 pieces over 3 decades. 160 additional ones in 2009 alone - his discovery re-energized this 63 year-old man, and his tale is worth 61 minutes of your time, if only to discover a new artist.


*Thanks to the commenters who pointed out the confusion on cities beginning with "B". At least it didn't say Boston.