Thoughts on Slim Susie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 3:32 PM By Simon

-Erik (Jonas Rimeika) returns to his small town after three years to investigate the disappearance of his little sister, Smala Sussie (Slim Susie) (Tuva Novotny). Both helping and hindering him is the odd array of residents, who tell him of all the ways his sister had changed since he left, and who all seem to be in on something.

-Characterization can be fuzzy at times, but this is a comedy, and something might've been lost in translation.

-Clockwork Orange reference WOO!

-I especially liked Tuva Novotny, who's somewhat tragic portrayal of the eponymous character in flashback is kind of heartbreaking.

-The guy from the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is in it, in some weird role that's half plot device, half awesome.

-But, really, the star is the soundtrack. God, Swedes are weird.

Thoughts on Itty Bitty Titty Committee

Monday, November 29, 2010 5:54 PM By Simon

-Anna (Melonie Diaz), recently dumped lesbian who works at a plastic surgeon's office, by some turn of events, joins a group of radical feminists, and falls in love with their leader (Nicole Vicius). And they spraypaint stuff and shit.

-Okay, pros: Anna is out, and her family isn't all pissy about it, in fact, they're all very nonchalent, which is always refreshing. When they aren't arguing about their love lives, the group (calling themselves the C(I)A, Clits in Action) is pretty entertaining, while they figure out new ways to stick it up the Man's ass. Melonie Diaz doesn't get nearly enough credit, always a secondary character or love interest, so it's nice to see her get a starring role. There's some funny lines. Enjoyable. Excellent soundtrack.

-Cons: When Anna starts going off on her new-found feminist rants, it's all so painfully obvious. There's nothing new, nothing daring, all radical feminist cliches with nothing to back it up. The group has no specific goal but to put up paper-mache Angela Davis statues, spray paint plastic surgeon's offices, deface advertisements, and rally against marriage (at a gay marriage rally, which was never going to go well). It's weak and the romantic plots are fucking boring, because honestly, the person everyone's falling around over is pretty bland. The C(I)A's version of satire is lame. Juvenile humor, which I guess is fine, since it's mostly aimed at teenaged girls.

-Camera work is nice. I haven't seen any of the other movies from Jamie Babbit (But I'm a Cheerleader has been on my list forever), so I can't speak on improvement either way, but much of the fault can go towards the screenplay.

-Also, lot of lesbians making-out, if you're into that.

10 Reasons I Don't Like Glee

2:40 PM By Simon

Ah, yes. If ever there was a time I'd end up with spammers/trolls, it'd be now.

1) Because everytime one of them starts singing some watered-down radio song under contrived circumstances and smugly feel-good smirks on their faces, I feel the compulsion to tape my middle finger to the TV screen until the end of the next week's promo.

2) Since I'm too late for the Modern Family bandwagon (I don't start shows in the middle. What am I, a barbarian?), this is the only non-reality show on Tuesdays.

3) The characters are poorly-written Anvil vehicles. The black, sassy fat girl who's super-sassy and has a big voice and a gay best friend and is sassy and has to learn to love and accept her self while sassy. The guy who (as of late) has rejected any negative/humanizing qualities to become the Magical Homosexual who's bullied a lot by a closeted football player (how original). Bitchy cheerleaders who never take off their damn uniforms. Brittney, who's admittedly awesome.

4) Bad covers of songs I like.

5) Bad covers of songs I hate.

6) Bad covers of songs I'm amiable towards, but done in contrived situations to somehow further the plot.

7) This Will Shuester dude is a flaming douchebag.

8) Drops voiceover whenever it damn well pleases.

9) You call it homage, I call it shot-for-shot remake of the entire fucking video.

10) It's fucking addicting, that shit. Shut up.

Thoughts on Water Drops on Burning Rocks

2:15 PM By Simon

-Cocky middle-aged businessman Leopold (Bernard Giraudeau) seduces carrot-topped 19-year-old Franz (Malik Zidi) into leaving his fiancee and living with him in 70s Germany (though everybody speaks French).

-Based off the play by (who else?) Rainer Werner Fassbinder, seperated into 4 acts. Now, they seperately could be categorized as different genres: the first, a prolonged seduction/romance, the second, a tense relationship drama, the third, still a RD, but quieter, sadder, a bit stupider, and the fourth, a thoroughly bizarre sex comedy that morphs into a tragedy, all within the confines of Leopold's apartment. The first three end with scenes that echo each other, a fantasy that began with Franz and rounded out to his fiancee (who costars in the third act, but was such a poorly-drawn character. Played by Ludivine Sagnier), that I expected it to round out the movie as well, but no, it was instead a rather tortured shot of a character who I consider vaguely spoilerish to talk about, but played by Anne Levine.

-So well shot as a seventies film, I was surprised to see it was made only in 2000.

-Weird, darkly funny, not for those easily offended by masochistic relationships.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, which countries would be the safest?

1:30 PM By Simon

That is, which ones are both self-sufficient and closed-off enough that they could shut down any travel and bunker down?

This, of course, excludes Samuel L. Jackson. And pygmies. They are, respectively, badass, and badass motherfuckers. Seriously. Zombies are probably allergic to them. If one came waddling over, either/or would rip them apart, burp "What up, n00b?" and carry on their business. Or whatever.

Discuss.

FINGER GUN FIGHT

Sunday, November 28, 2010 7:23 PM By Simon

(thanks to Sugary)

Thoughts on Mystery Team

11:00 AM By Simon

-Derrick Comedy group--Community's Donald Glover, DC Pierson, and Dominic Dierkes star (and write/produce/score with Dan Eckman and Meggie McFadden) as the Mystery Team, a suburban detective agency that must've been cute when they were seven, but now, eighteen and graduating from high school, is naive and creepy. When a little girl approaches them about solving her parents' recent murder, they decide to take it, to prove themselves as legitimate detectives.

-Funniest movie of 2009, probably. Fuck The Hangover (which is 2009, right?). While the last two acts, plot-heavy, can't possibly touch the first act in general awesomeness, it helps that the GIC care for the characters as more than jokes, and take great care in keeping with the mystery genre, both murders and the Enyclopedia Brown genre.

-Seriously, why didn't this get more attention?

Thoughts on Timecrimes

10:47 AM By Simon

-A man (Karra Elejalde) sees a woman lifting her shirt in the woods from his lawn, and, going to investigate, finds himself amid a time-travel loop which leads to a causeless crime.

-This. Movie. Is. The. Shit.

-It's so fucking cool. Best time travel movie ever (better than Donnie Darko, better than 'Looper' probably will be, better than all of them).

-Touches on paradoxes (several, in fact, though only one is addressed), the event of a crime without a cause, government conspiracies, all from one man's point of view (that he only cares to go home to his wife)...fascinating stuff.

-The protaganist is the stupidest dick on the face of the planet, though. To really highlight his idiocracy, I'd have to spoil the movie, which I feel is a terrible, terrible thing to do, but if you found his raging assholery so offensive you have to scream about it, the comments are always open.

Thoughts on Bart Got a Room

10:24 AM By Simon

-With prom around the corner, a teenager struggles to find a date, doing everything to avoid going with his best friend (Alia Shawkat), on top of dealing with his parents' respective love lives (Cheryl Hines and William H. Macy's pubic-hair wig). Making his increasingly desperate measures more painful is the knowledge that the biggest nerd/loser/asshole/whatever in school, Bart, uh, got a room. Nothing is better than William H. Macy's horrified look upon discovering this.

-A low-key mix of Napolean Dynamite, various teenage coming-of-age movies, and that thing with that guy.

-Fucking Florida.

Thoughts on Burlesque

Friday, November 26, 2010 2:23 PM By Simon

-When did it suddenly become okay to refer to Chistina Aguilera as 'Xtina'? Are we on a first name basis now?

-At least the marketers know to list Cher first. She's awesome in this. Aguilera is fine. Not terrible. Mediocre. Utterly. Everyone else suffices.

-This isn't the next Showgirls. It doesn't take itself seriously. It knows it's guilty pleasure fodder, with groan-inducing lines, caricatures, the whole bit. It wallows in its corniness, basically.

-The reveal was off.

-Not enough Alan Cumming, not enough Stanley Tucci (basically being his characters in The Devil Wears Prada), not enough Kirsten Bell. Guys. Pull your shit together.

Thoughts on Three...Extremes

Thursday, November 25, 2010 10:12 PM By Simon

-Three renowned Asian directors--South Korea's Park Chan-wook, Hong Kong's Fruit Chan, and Japan's Takashi Miike--direct three seperate segments of this international anthology. Warning: fucking gruesome.

-Fruit Chan directs 'Dumplings', about the disturbing secret to eternal youth. Park Chan-wook directs 'Cut', about a successful director and his wife kidnapped by an obsessive extra. Takashi Miike directs 'Box', about a young woman with diturbing dreams of being buried alive that may blend with reality.

-'Box' is confusing, scary, but makes no goddamn sense in any way that's not metaphorical. 'Cut' is darkly humorous, graphically violent (duh), and so like Park. 'Dumplings' is perhaps the most famous of three, later expanded into a 90 minute feature with the same cast (among others, Bai Ling), is about an aging actress who goes to desperate measures to regain her husband's attentions.

-Some freaky-ass shit.

Thoughts on Pandora's Box

10:11 PM By Simon

-Louise Brooks gets all iconic as Lulu, an uninhibited, seductive young woman who's thoughtless nature ruin herself and those around her.

-A surprisingly subtle silent performance from Brooks, all cheeky grins and mischevious glances. Also pretty frank about sexuality, considering the day (especially of lesbianism).

-Still, you can't help but see this movie as condemning the things it so blatantly shows, preaching that sexually forward women are doomed to destroy themselves.

-And...yeah. That's about it.

Thoughts on Delicatessen

10:11 PM By Simon

-In an unspecified apocalyptic future, people have turned to cannibalism to eat, and grain for currency. A circus performer (Dominique Pinon) rents a room from a sinister butcher/landlord (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), amid a variety of quirky tenants (what else?), and develops a friendship with his daughter (Marie-Laure Dougnac).

-Surprisingly light for such dark material.

-This is the kickass trailer:

I, Carly

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 8:53 PM By Simon

So, uh, do you, with your absolute disinterest in this abode long-lasting, recall a post I did a few days ago? In which I kinda-lamented the doom of today's youth? That one?

I also talked of iCarly, an immensely popular Nickelodean sitcom that should totally get a gritty reboot wherein the title character goes crazy? My sister rolled with it:



And she used the proper 'they're'! I'm so proud of her.

Thoughts on Thirst

8:34 PM By Simon

-Park Chan-wook. If you are a movie lover worth your shit, you need no more reason.

-Fine. A priest (Song Kang-ho, who was the dad in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, if you care, which of course you do), grieved by the tragedies of the world, volunteers himself for a potential vaccine of a deadly, mysterious disease (where he goes is French speaking, possibly African, as they make a point of noting that only Caucasians and Asians are being affected by the disease, but as always/probably, I could be wrong). He contracts it, and gets a blood transfusion that, yeah, makes him all vampire-y (as in, all the cool traits of vampires, but none of that glittery shit). Upon returning, he falls in love with the wife (Kim Ok-bin) of a childhood friend (Shin Ha-kyun, or, uh, Ryu, as anyone listening to the beginning of the paragraph will know). And then some nasty shit happens, obviously.

-There are some great scenes in this. Like, how when the priest demonstrates to the wife (I'll name them eventually) how he can jump across rooftops, the camera focuses on her giddy face rather than the actually jumping. And how (SPOILERS) at the very end (SPOILERS) the priest and the wife are silently wrestling (LAST FUCKING CHANCE) for the car keys, then the car trunk, then the car itself, as sunrise comes soon and, while the priest, tired of the dark road he's taken, and the monster he's created, wants them both to die, and she, uh, doesn't.

-And then there's the screeching violins.

Thoughts on INLAND EMPIRE

8:24 PM By Simon

-Um.

-Laura Dern is gloriously confused. Justin Theroux is saucy. Rabbit heads about. William H. Macy for five seconds. Jeremy Irons. Other things, I'm sure.

-So...if Mullholland Drive was on stronger medication? Blonde actresses and turning points from the sensical to the decidedly non? Brutal fucking murder?

-Funny and terrifying. Batshit insane. Don't try to figure out how scenes play together, settle for figuring out what is going on in the scenes themselves (a much more reasonable goal...each one has a story that you can fill in yourself).

-The moral of the story: don't go through any strange doors.

Pictures from Niccol's new film

5:05 PM By Simon

Is it wrong that Amanda Seyfried looks a smidge-bit-tad like Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie?

Yes. Yes it is.

Thoughts on Save the Green Planet!

3:40 PM By Simon

-Jan Jung-hwa directs Shin Ha-kyun (Ryu!) as Byeong-gu, a mentally ill young serial killer who regularly kidnaps people who he suspects are aliens trying to destroy the planet, with the help of his childlike circus performer girlfriend Su-ni (Hwang Jeong-min). They next kidnap a factory executive (Baek Yoon-sik), and as police rush to find him, revelations of Byeong-gu's true intentions are revealed.

-Hazzah for weirdass Korean movies! HAZZAH, I SAYS!

-A dark comedy/thriller/horror/sci-fi/romance, beautifully done, acted fantastically (especially an insane Shin), anywhere from sweet to disturbing to heartbreaking, all done with an enthusiastic zeal.

-My only complaint would be the third act, which veers off into such off territory from the tone the first two established.

-La Strada reference!

-If you know someone who doesn't cry during the end credits (I trust you, guy, don't worry), lock up your children and load your canons, because robots have gone AI and they know you're onto them.

Some over-thought on today's kid shows

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 2:02 PM By Simon

Because I care deeply about all my audience (that's right, all twenty of you), I feel it's time I start sharing some sure-to-be-invaluable insights into the tween stars of today.

-Taylor Momsen and Miley Cyrus are two seperate spectrums of what happens when you let teenagers go through phases in public.
Momsen, that chick from Gossip Girl with the black lipstick and whatnot, is in that holy-shit-I'm-so-hardcore-and-badass-because-look-I-have-fishnets, who actually makes videos that look like this:



I mean, for fuck's sake. I've seen MySpace pages with less corsets.

Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus is the type that thinks she's sexy because she now has boobs, so she walks around in as little clothing as possible, mugging for cameras with bunny ears and mouth perennially agape (what up, TWO vocab words), the kind that'll pierce something, go to a downtown bar, talk about how 'frigging hawt' they look, and then go home to watch, I don't know, Grey's Anatomy (I still hold out faith that my generation isn't so as-a-whole stupid that their default programming is The Jersey Shore). So, y'see, neither should criticize the other, because in a few years, at least one of them will be really embarassed.

-iCarly should get an epic/gritty revamp called I, Carly

A young web celebrity is haunted by her audience, who she thinks have followed her home and who's laughter only she can hear, as she decends into madness (aided by her negligent guardian, abusive friend, and obsessive neighbor).

-We get it. Disney sucks. Please find something more original to whine about.

Thoughts on Dead Snow

1:58 PM By Simon

-Are they Nazi zombies? Zombie Nazis? Nazis who happen to be zombies? Zombies that happen to be Nazis? These are the questions that haunt me.

-Brilliant horror comedy, occasionally missing notes, but redeemed by clever dialogue, if the characters are anywhere from flat to annoying to asshole(ing?).

-If you're going to ripoff The Evil Dead scenes, don't reference it extensively, thereby drawing everyone's attention to it. Guys. You should know this.

-Ew-outhouse-sex-ew.

Thoughts on From Hollywood to Hollywood

Monday, November 22, 2010 5:22 PM By Simon

-I don't know if you know this about me, gentle readers, but I am not averse to the temptations of free swag. Is it because I'm cheap? Yes. Is it because I'm one of those borderline-hoarders? No (it's the cause, not the symptom, kay?). But it's also because in freebies you sometimes find something, like, half-valuable. Like crappy off-brand hard candy can be worth 5000 bucks in twenty years.

-So, this is how I happened upon this. The LAMB has a press release for any takers on aforementioned swag (ahem, review copy). Again, I indiscriminately put in for anything of the like (it doesn't help that my book-reviewing sister gets free books in the mail, like, all the time, and it's pissing me off)...so, yeah. Anyway.

-Jeff and Scott Bushaw (brothers, as luck would have it) do every viable thing in creating this movie (I'm not listing every single one, but it's the whole 'writing, directing, etc' thing), and star as two brothers--one who's an idiot, the other an idiot to a different degree. While Scott, who's name is Skyler in this, but details, has turned to gay porn to make ends meet, Dempster, the other one, is an idiot. I can't say that enough. Biggest idiot ever committed to independent film making. I vouch for no Shia LaBiffle characters.

-So these hombres try to make it big in Hollywood, with middling success. And that is the plot. Of the movie.

-The acting is bad. Like, really bad. Anywhere from hammy to stiff to obnoxious. Dario Argento movies have better acting. I mean, there were times it plateaued into decent, but only when they weren't going for ridiculous gross-out/physical comedy. The verbal humor, it was okay. It survived.

-Silly montages to bad pop music. I won't speak of the cinematography, because I understand this was made for cheap, and not everything can be The Fall.

-It's dumb. It's a dumb comedy, sometimes is offensively so, sometimes not. There are moments it isn't, where it actual made me chuckle, here and there. Sometimes it was so-bad-it's-good territory. Sometimes it was just fine. Sometimes it bordered on witty.

-Okay. So I laughed at "Does he know he looks like this?"

-Can you buy STD pills at a pawn shop?

The world's first dark energy detector

2:11 PM By Simon

Code of Conduct for Going to the Movies

Sunday, November 21, 2010 2:22 PM By Simon

Rule 11: No Explosive Devices
We understand that you didn't like Bride Wars. We get it.

Here.

Thoughts on Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

1:36 PM By Simon

-Recently orphaned Corinne Burns (Diane Lane), her sister (who's name, neither character nor actress, I can find the bloody name of), and her cousin Jessica (Laura Dern) start a punk band called (uh) The Stains, and after three rehearsels, start a tour with The Looters (half the band members of The Sex Pistols, one from The Clash), who's lead singer (Ray Winstone) gets all up in her business, and blah blah fucking blah, you know that shit.

-Rousing and funny and weird and brilliant as a rise-and-fall biopic without the biopic, probably my favorite Diane Lane performance (ahem), and some awesome music (yeah, okay, one really good song, called 'The Professionals', which I suggest you download somewhere), commenting on the hypnotically groupie effect bands with gimmicks have on the youngins (which I don't think is fair. I mean, I've had Lady Gaga nailed into my head for the past three years, don't see me wearing metal beards and meat dresses)...

-Christine Lahti does not look old enough to be anyone's mother here, okay?

Thoughts on The Omen

1:30 PM By Simon

-The brilliant original, not the I-haven't-seen-it-but-it-probably-sucks-so-shut-up-let-me-live-my-life 2006 remake, which relied on a particular date (I remember because kids in my wee 4th-grade-or-so class were talking about how the school was going to burst into flames and we'd all die) to sell. Harumph.

-Anyways. Is it terribly wrong that I kept thinking at the movie, "Damn you, people, move aside and let Gregory Peck handle this!" I mean, sure, his character didn't do so hot either, but he's Atticus Finch. He's got this.

-What's up with that kid's voice? He sounded like someone was strangling him with his own undropped testicles. Did kids sound like that in the seventies?

Thoughts on In the Realms of the Unreal

7:46 AM By Simon

-WHen Henry Darger, a seemingly innocuous old shut-in, died in the 1970s, he left behind a colossal collection of autobiography, weather reports, and most notably, a 15000-something page epic entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. Now considered the leading example of an outsider artist, this documentary follows not the artist (as he wasn't even known as an artist), but the man (interviews of which consist of landlords acquaintances, as anyone who had ever managed to get closer to him has long since died or was unable to be tracked down), who hated talking to people, dug through old newspapers for pictures, and had only a vague knowledge of sex (the opposite or the act). Among other things.

-No talking heads, no investigations, for the most part, it is a man reading Darger's journals, a girl (Dakota Fanning, I think) giving a little background on both him and the book, occasional interviews with said acquaintances, all to fancifully-animated segments of the story.

-A fascinating, if not very in-depth (forgiveable, under the circumstances) biography, from his rather miserable childhood to his beginning of the novel in 1907, to his death.

Thoughts on Kings and Queen

Saturday, November 20, 2010 4:37 PM By Simon

-Emmanuelle Devos from a-lot-more-complicated-than-it-had-to-be La Moustache stars as a 35-year-old woman with a young, withdrawn son, who's father is dead under suspicious circumstances, an ex-husband who just got sent to the bin for reasons as yet unexplained to him (Mathieu Amalric), another failing marriage, and a soon-to-be new husband who never has sex with her or something. And her dad is dying of some generally pelvic cancer. In French.

-The characters who you think are twisted turn out to be relatively normal, the ones who think to be put together are actually really off their shit, there's lots of crying, and old people can either be funny and tough, or dourly near-death. Uneven, terribly shot (I don't care what damn year it is, there's a thing called 'lighting'), often melodramatic. But also funny, earnest, heartbreaking, and weird. By the end, you'll be oddly moved, if a bit depressed. In French.

Thoughts on A Love Song For Bobby Long

4:33 PM By Simon

-People from the South are deeper, because it's hotter there and they only get game show channels and they drink a lot in a variety of different containers, with pickle juice or whatever, so their souls are richer for it. Or something.

-That's what I've learned from this movie. Also, that years of drinking and moping and peanut-butter-and-M&M-spoons will only make you look like Gabriel Macht and Scarlett Johanssen. Something to tell the children.

Harry Potter and the Awesome McAwesome Sauce (Part 1)

Friday, November 19, 2010 4:22 PM By Simon

(or, y'know, whatever you wanna call it)

(warning: obsessive, delirious spoilers from a raging part-time HP fangirl. I say partime because I can never get excited about the movies or books until the day it comes out, in which case I wake up shaking with such anticipation I nearly throw up from all the repressed squealing)

Gah motherfucker gah.

*sigh*

Dobby was happy, guys. HE WAS FUCKING HAPPY! He had his crowning moment of badassery (delightfully delayed so he could unscrew the chandelier), and he had a new friend in Luna, and they all had just made their brave escape (save for a few disturbing moments of Bellatrix-on-Hermione torture I didn't need to see), and THE BITCH KILLS HIM!

Oh, Dobby. He never even got to see what pants felt like.

And GAH! Why Mad-Eye, JK Rowling? He hardly got to be awesome for ten minutes, and you knock him off!

Bill got to be all noble with Fleur while she was in Harry form ("Bill, don't look at me. I'm hideous."), Hedwig dies (along with, I presume, her Angry Inch) (also, sob), the people I was with in the theatre were dicks and wouldn't stop screaming at everything, Dumbledore dies again, Number 11-12 is mysterious, hardly any Remus, Tonks has a normal hair color (les horreurs!), and some bullshit about a sword that I'm pretty sure is setup to get the cast naked and in various points of copulation.

A fine movie, friends. Fine, just fine.

So, yeah, I'm taking biology right now...

Thursday, November 18, 2010 4:23 PM By Simon

And maybe I'd pass if we played more videos like this.

Monday, November 15, 2010 3:04 PM By Simon

I do believe I'd be more focused on the lemurs than their origins, but if pressed, I guess I could assume Jumanji had something to do with it.

Critically Acclaimed Movies I Don't Get The Appeal Of

1:59 PM By Simon

1) Million Dollar Baby
Every time Hilary Swank looks up at Clint Eastwood with those fucking doe-eyes and calls him Boss, I want to smack the naive spunkiness right out of her.

2) Last of the Mohicans
I mean...seriously, what's the big deal? It has a nice score, yes, but I found it bloated and ridiculous, with no real characterization of the supposed main character (Superactor Daniel Day-Lewis, of course, does nothing wrong, although I also question why everybody made such a fuss about his performance as well), focusing most of its attention on two dead-eyed General's daughters. It's a lovely exploration of the start of America, but man.

3) The Blind Side
You know, guys. You know.

.

1:37 PM By Simon

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

Sunday, November 14, 2010 4:30 PM By Simon

-Agatha Christie's famous Detective Poirot (played here by Albert Finney, with a hammy accent and a mustache that's hardly the greatest in the world) gets caught on the eponymous train on a snowed-in track with the murdered body of a shady retired businessman (Richard Widmark) and 12 potential suspects, who's connection with the man and his past are gradually revealed in one glorious scene.

-Aside from the fact that every non-English nationality is played by a British person, but Ingrid Bergman as a nervous, middle-aged Swedish missionary (she gets five major minutes of uninterrupted scene, and she earns that Oscar nomination), the acting is pretty awesome. Sean Connery, as always, nobly makes no effort to appear British in any way, Lauren Bacall is an extremely talkative, fussy older woman who is also somehow awesome, Anthony Perkins is basically Norman Bates with more nervousness and less personalities, Vanessa Redgrave is a British teacher returning from Baghdad (she and Connery, both relatively small roles, basically embody the atypical hero and heroine that many movies of the time had, and making it almost funny that they are in the background the entire time), and other people I have no patience to list.

-A solid, old-fashioned mystery directed by Sydney Lumet, with a bit of a disappointing, but in hindsight obvious, climax.

Women in Anguish (Thoughts on Vivre sa vie and Persona)

8:24 AM By Simon

Of course, these two films have much in common, literally, anyway. Both portray women in various states of mental deterioration, one of whom is played the muse of a major European art director (Jean-Luc Godard and Ingmar Bergman, respectively). Both feature minimalistic black-and-white sets, monochronistic, limited, sometimes set up like a stage. Music often becomes a factor, both in-universe and omnipresent. One woman, with sexual hangups (prostitution and a rather dicy menage a quatre, again, respectively), will engage in long, philisophical conversations with people they barely know (a real philosopher and a forever-silent actress), and a woman has a strong emotional reaction to a movie or news broadcast early on, before the real turbulence has begun (The Passion of Joan of Arc and the Thích Quảng Đức suicide). I can't really draw any specific parallels between the endings, however, besides acts of extreme violence, which you could call both random, but it wouldn't be true. And they're both extremely experimental.

-Nana (Anna Karina) abandons her husband and infant song to pursue an acting career, but when her job at a record shop refuses to make ends meet, she turns to the more lucrative field of prostitution. During her tenure, she gains the world's most non-0threatening pimp, may or may not falls in love with a student (the way it is shot, silent talking with two sets of subtitles, makes me see it as ambiguous and dream-like, whether it really occured is entirely irrelevent), and, of course, things end in tragedy.

-Meditative and dryly comic in the way Godard often goes about things, the film is seperated into 12 seperate, self-contained episodes, he goes to great lengths to shatter the cinematic experience, outlining in title cards exactly what will happen in the succeeding segment, toying with sound and image at will, no real plot, and even the ending is senseless, with a whole story behind it that would have to be a different film, because we must never leave Nana's perspective.

-I kind of love Godard films, just because, at least in the 20th century, he could assault the ideals and norms of cinema with all the gusto he wanted, and nobody could stop him, because the end results were so delightfully weird, and weirdly delightfuly, and everybody loved them. This is one of those.

-The music of a comedy.

-Bibi Andersson stars as a nurse, Sister Alma, assigned to care for Liv Ullman's Elisabet, an actress who has suddenly and without warning gone catatonic, refusing to speak or move. This later changes to just talking. The two go out to a cottage at the seaside, alone to face their respective anxieties.

-This, too, toys with perception of reality in film, opening with a montage of vaguely disturbing images on a loose strip of film, and at one point in the middle the reel splits and burns, the sound going to high, before landing back at what is presumably a few scenes later, watching Elisabet walking about the kitchen, blurred, before quickly slamming back to normal.

-The fact that the two actresses' faces often overlap, and at the end, compltely intertwine, is terribly obvious from a 21st century perspective, but I suppose it was very novel back in the sixties. To which I say, oh fucking well.

-The music of a horror.

Thoughts on Bubba Ho-Tep

Saturday, November 13, 2010 3:31 PM By Simon

-Sebastian, an old man in a soul-killing retirement home who may or may not be Elvis Presley, contemplates age, frailty, dignity, and death while investigating strange happenings with Jack/John Kennedy (Ossie Davis).

-Surely the greatest movie ever made to star both JFK and Elvis. And that's not a narrow field.

-Bruce Cambell, anyway, creates the best on-screen representation of the man ever. A surprisingly straight, dry character who's come to terms with his fate--never being able to retrieve his identity from the impersonator he signed it over to--and mnildly waits for death with 'a growth on his pecker', and by the end you really hope that he is Elvis.

-After seeing this movie, I'm never carting anyone I know to a retirement home.

Thoughts on Homecoming

3:04 PM By Simon

-A guy Mike (Matt Long) and his girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup) drive to his homecoming (whatever the fuck that is) in his hometown, where his ex-girlfriend Shelby (Mischa Barton) waits with baited breath. So basically, it's Fatal Attraction meets Misery with an added mix of stupid.

-We--me and sister watched this because we were both in fowl moods and wanted to laugh at something in all mean spirits. Except we couldn't even laugh at this, it was so fucking bad.

-Mischa Barton, for one, is awful. Just awful. Like, they're supposed to be in Pennsylvania, yet she has on some quasi-Southern accent. Her line reading is so stilted, her emotional reactions so dull/unsubtle...

-Well, yeah, she isn't really aided by the script, and certainly not the other actors. Matt Long and Jessica Stroup turn in dreadfully generic performances, playing dreadfully generic characters. Plot makes no sense, every single character is an idiot, whether by intention or not.

-I know Mischa Barton can be a good actress sometimes. I've seen Assassination of a High School President. Now, here she is, hoking it up with her tepid knowledge of the East and her Annie Wilkes complex. She even has an axe. My, oh my, Stephen Fry.

(who else saw Community?)

-Director: The unfortunately named Morgan J Freeman.

Thoughts on Mystery Train

1:28 PM By Simon

-Three stories converge at a a hotel in Memphis.

-Youki Kudoh and Masatoshi Nagase play a young Japanese couple, the girl obsessed with Elvis. Nicoletta Braschi is an Italian widow stranded in Memphis. Joe Strummer (The Clash!) is an unemployed Englishman in unadvised possession of a gun.

-I love Jim Jarmusch anthologies. He's the only one who can pull them off, never going over four or five storylines, with idiosyncratic casts (Screamin' Jay Hawkins as a hotel clerk, Cinqué Lee as his disheveled bellhop, Joe fucking Strummer) and mellow humor.

-The first story, I don't know if it was supposed to be like that, most of the dialogue unsubtitled Japanese. Since the DVD has no English subtitles, I settled for French, relying on my pathetic knowledge of a few sentences to at least get some context clues. So I only had a vague knowledge of what the fuck was going on. Therefore, I can't comment.

-Every story, as short as they were, felt rather complete. Does not suck.

Thoughts on Spirited Away

Friday, November 12, 2010 5:09 PM By Simon

-If you don't know it by now, son, there's nothing I can do for you.

-This movie. Is the shit.

-It's got everything. Amazing animation of aleady-iconic characters (including what I can only describe as a mini Totoro), a feel-good story that still doesn't pussy around the fact that people are, like, slaves, a six-armed man with a mustache that size of his face.

-Studio Ghibli, aka the studio that keeps us from killing ourselves by proiducing non-stop whimsy and awesomeness and Miyazaki.

Thoughts on Bad Guy

4:58 PM By Simon

-A silent young man (Cho Jae-hyun), insulted by a woman he forcibly kisses in the park (Seo Won), traps her into prostitution, only to become prtective of her. Kim Ki-duk, who can be called the artsiest of all the South Korean art directors.

-Which is, of course, how you must approach this film. As an artwork rather than an actual movie. A blunt look at gangsters and prostitution (I can't speak for the rest of the world, but is it somewhat regular for whorehouses to be lined up like storefronts, with girls just chilling behind glass windows?), with no villain and no hero, as every character is painfully human. From the silent man, a pimp enforcer named Han-gi, whose borderline affection for his cronies goes to the point that, when one of them stabs him, he, bleeding on the beach, tries to bury the knife in the sand. Even the most obviously sympathetic one, the girl Sun-hwa, is undone by her own tendency to steal (not that that's an excuse).

-Some aspects of this were out of nowhere and confusing (the damn bloody picture), and by just reading the synopsis it hardly sounds like a decent movie, but once you get into it, it's actually quite fascinating, if not outright enthralling.

-Or, y'know, whatever.

On Veteran's Day

Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:23 PM By Simon

And I, and American, shall celebrate the only way I know how: watching Clint Eastwood educate motherfuckers in the art of pain.

.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 7:46 PM By Simon

Which fuck buddy movie will you waste your money on?

Sunday, November 7, 2010 6:35 PM By Simon

No Strings Attached



Pros: Natalie Portman, Greta Gerwig, chick from The Office, gay guy from Chelsea Lately, that hamster joke at the end.

Cons: Ashton Kutcher, reeking of studio romantic comedy, plethora of stupid jokes, presence of wacky best friends, PG-13.

Friends With Benefits



Pros: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake (who I prefer doing movies to music), Will Gluck (director of Easy A), Patricia Clarkson, Emma Stone (not in trailer, but Wikipedia wouldn't lie), Woody Harrelson, R-rating, R-rating jokes, therefore funny jokes.

Cons: 'Dude' best friend, Third Eye Blind, modern romantic comedy.

Yes, well. I'm going with the latter.

Thoughts on War, Inc.

Saturday, November 6, 2010 8:45 PM By Simon

-John Cusack writes, produces, and stars as a CIA hitman in a over-there future where war has officially gone private. Hilary Duff is a Central Asian (?) popstar named Yonica Babyyeah, Marisa Tomei a stubborn journalist, Joan Cusack a high-strung assisstant, Dan Aykroyd a Dick Cheney-type Vice President. Other people in other roles I'm sure are important. I don't know. I'm tired.

-This movie aspires to so much, but it just fails. A chaotic thing, can't decide whether it wants to be funny or serious, I'm not sure the writers know the definition of 'satire'...

-Right. Yeah. Mess.

Thoughts on New York, I Love You

8:28 PM By Simon

-An anthology in the vein of Paris, je t'aime. Common denominator? Natalie Portman.

-This is...a cute mess. A bland look at love amongst New Yorkers, mostly in the East and West sides, predominantly white, entirely straight. They vary from standrad romantic comedies (Shunji Iwai's Orlando Bloom and Christina Ricci-starring segment) to slice-of-life 'New York Moments' (Yvan Attal smoking-on-the-sidewalk vignettes) to culture dramas (Mira Nair's Gujarati Irrfan Khan and Hassitic Natalie Portman segment) to baffling fantasy-realist tragic-dramas (Shekhar Kapur's adaption of Anthony Minghella's screenplay, starring Julie Christie, Shia Labeouf's vaguely Slavic accent, Shia Labeouf's pronounced limp, and Shia Labeouf). Some are notable, like a mediation on the aftermath of a one night stand between a younger man (Bradley Cooper) and an older woman (Drea de Matteo).

-There's the token old person tale, this one starring Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach. There's the actor-to-director one, Natalie Portman's quiet father-daughter short (which I've heard was awful, but really, it's not terribly offensive, offbeat and intriguing, not brilliant, but not terrible), there's a lot of twist endings (Brett Ratner), some transitions (starring Justin Bartha, Emilie Ohana, and Eva Amurri). But really...it's not good. It's not bad, but it's not very good. Pleasent, fluffy, sometimes weird, but washed in this coat of sameness.

-I'm fucking sick of that Radiohead song. Shut it up.

Brief Thoughts on Subjects You Don't Care About: Child Stars

2:59 PM By Simon

Once they hit puberty, it can go three ways: Jodie Foster, Hilary Duff, or Lindsay Lohan.

I know, fairly random people, but it was the top of my head's fault, you see. It has no feet to think on.

They can go the route of Lindsay Lohan: a mess of drugs, arrests, and bad pop music. People are exasperated with the chick, but you know, if she doesn't die or get twenty to life for killing some dude, she'll emerge from this haze in demand for movies wanting notoriety, or at least notability, and reporters wanting...I dunno. The same thing.

They can go the route of Jodie Foster (and maybe future Emma Watson): Go to college, emerge smelling like roses and dignity, do some quality films, collect some Oscars, be awesome.

Or, finally, they can go the route of Hilary Duff: Too clean for scandal, too boring for celebrity, too flat for acting note. It is her career that depresses me the most. See, I was trying to decide whether I should watch a film from the library, or one of my high-piling collection of unwatched, neglected DVDs (thanks a fucking lot, Netflix. You ruin lives), and one of the library ones was War, Inc. At this point, I only remember two bits of the advertisement: Joan Cusack yelling through a video-thing, and Hilary Duff dropping a scorpian down her pants.

It wasn't scandalous. Some media tried to make it so, but the world greeted this faux-transgression with a hurricane-winds 'eh'. Because at that point, only fifty percent of her original audience remembered who she was, and everyone else never cared in the first place. She's been lounging about indie comedy hell for a couple years now, turning out mind numbing titles such as According to Greta and What Goes Up. In all of them, if Wikipedia is truthful (shut up), she plays a Lolita/self-destructive type who's trying to fuck someone for the sake of it. One of these roles is someone trying to break out. Multiple ones is someone who failed the first time, and overcompensating.

And then she did Community. My favorite show. Wherein she didn't have enough screentime to suck. But cred points anyway, because that was an excellent episode (trampolines!). At last count, she was doing a remake of Bonnie and Clyde with Kevin Zegers and Thora Birch, and wrote a young adult novel.

A young adult novel. For fuck's sake.

That is why she depresses me most of all. She's just...boring.

End.

Thoughts on Shadows and Fog (a movie about expressionism)

2:37 PM By Simon

-Yeah, I'm giving reviews subtitles now. Helps me concentrate.

-Kleinman (Woody Allen) is a clerk waken from a 'deep sleep' in the middle of the night by a vigilante mob, looking for a serial killer dubbed 'The Strangler' (although he reportedly also slits throats), who bully/demand him to get dressed and meet them downstairs. He does, but nobody is around, and as the story progresses, nobody tells him what his part in 'the plan' is, so he's left to wander around.

-Anyway. Mia Farrow is a sword swallower named Irmy, whose clown boyfriend (John Malkovich) has just cheated on her with the circus tightrope artist (Madonna, not sucking for once). She's left to wander around the city Kleinman lives, taken in by a brothel (where local student John Cusack gives hr 700 bucks to sleep with him), then brought to the police station during a raid, where she meets Kleinman.

-It's all one big parody of German Expressionist films (particularly Fritz Lang, and M), and Franz Kafka. As my only experience with Allen films thus far have been Celebrity and Husbands and Wives, this is a nice breather from bourgeois couples yelling neurotically at each other.

-And, of course, a lovely cast. Lily Tomlin, Jodie Foster, and Kathy Bates play prostitutes at the brothel Irmy stays at, Julie Kavner is Kleinman's jilted ex-fiancee, Eszter Balint shows up briefly as a starving young mother, Donald Pleasence is a really intense doctor, and Kurtwood Smith is one of the mob. And John C. Reilly is in the background for five seconds as a policeman. Which is weird.

-So, yes. Tis funny and witty and clever and not annoying at all.

Thoughts on Irma Vep (a movie about a movie)

2:09 PM By Simon

-Maggie Cheung plays herself, an actress flown in from Hong Kong to play the lead in a remake of Les Vampires, whom the director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) saw in an action film and was hypnotised by her (some would say 'turned on'). Not speaking a word of French (in-movie), most of the movie takes place in English, a bridge language between the French crew and herself (although she speaks it much better than everyone else).

-An oddly engrossing film on the mechanics of making a film, a criticism of French cinema in general (it's all self-service, no regard for audience, etc), although the lead character adamently defends it, and her director's odd choices, from hostile crew and reporters.

Spoilers ahead

-The end, in which director (Rene, if I haven't said his name yet) has been replaced with a friend director, after a nervous breakdown, and this guy has replaced Maggie with another actress on the film (though it's implied she'll also be fired), as he says he needs someone to represent Paris underground, not "Fu Manchu". The cast and crew sit down to watch what Rene had edited before leaving, and I think it's a lovely statement on the overall misjudgement he was under when he decided to make the film: starting as a silent, shot-for-shot remake of one part of the serial, before morphing into a chaotic mess of scratched film (with his fingernail, it looks like, painting outlines, circles, backgrounds, etc), going in and out of focus with occasional screeching. He was motivated by his enchantment with Cheung, and as production went on, he realized just how unsuited that ideal was for an actual film. So he ended up with what he really wanted: a weird, experimental short film with Maggie as the centerpiece.

-Or whatever. It's quite a good movie. Almost two-thirds in English, for those averse to subtitles.

Thoughts on Thirst

Friday, November 5, 2010 7:22 PM By Simon

-Not the 2009 Park Chan-Wook film. Although it is about vampires. Terrible sorry.

-A woman (Chantal Contouri) is kidnapped by a blood-drinking cult called 'The Brotherhood' (aren't they all?), due to her ancient lineage.

-David Hemmings!

-I won't lie, I watched the first half of this last week in a sudden urge for cheesy 70s horror, and the rest this morning. Any enthrallment I had previously had all but disappeared. I am significantly less interested. You get the idea, yeah?

-Chantal Contouri bugs me.

-This film, dearies, stopped making sense at the thirty minute mark. Not only is Contouri's Kate the biggest idiot the world has ever known (as all horror movie female characters are in their respective universes), the plot becomes a stew of half-hearted escape attempts, drug-induced hallucinations, gratuitous neck-biting, tubes of blood running from neck veins to giant tubs of food coloring that, nonetheless, made me cringe, as all neck related things do. And there's a bit of nudity, if you dig the whole blood-out-of-the-shower-nozzle deal.

-Right. Ozploitation, bitches.

I'm from Jersey, I got this

5:25 PM By Simon

Amber at nostomanic is giving away button-swag, and I, for one, will partake.

Now enjoy this:

Thoughts on Chinese Roulette

11:42 AM By Simon

-Rainer Werner Fassbinder's first international film, a disabled 12-year-old girl conspires against her parents (Margit Carstensen and Alexander Allerson) and their respective lovers (Anna Karina and Ulli Lommel).

-One day, I'll go into detail about exactly why I both hate this movie (for its cold intellectualism) and love it (because it's kind of badass). But I'm tired, and I've got homework, and it's not like anyone will be reading this anyway.

-All I can say: an army of grotesque and terrified dolls will haunt my sleep.

I got a new computer!

Thursday, November 4, 2010 6:55 PM By Simon

Sure, it's noticeably and annoyingly not mine, but fuck that noise, I got shit to do.

And now I can go back to giving you (yeah, you. With the face.) you're semi-daily half-thoughts on movies you've never heard of! And trying to catch up on that NaNoWriMo thing. And doing homework, if I've got the time.

And, yo! When I got this, I found this collection of 50 horror movies for 15 bucks! 15, I tell you! Metropolis (who am I to argue that this isn't a fucking horror movie?) and Nosferatu and Night of the Living Dead! And stuff!

So...how bout The Walking Dead? Halloween? November? That episode of Community I missed because I had to pick up this damned thing? Hilariously inappropriate fedoras?

Thoughts on Bloody Fucking Dubbed Death Note

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:17 AM By Simon


-This version of Death Note, in case you didn't hear, was bloody fucking dubbed. But I watched it. Just for you. And to shut my stupid-ass sister up.


-And my, was this dubbing horrible. I mean, at first it was decent, but then people started, like, talking, and it all went downhill. DEATH TO DUBBING!

-Also, the effects sucked royal. Ryuk, our resident Shinigami and noted Awesomesauce (in the fucking manga, at least), is designed like the special effects guys misread the isntructions, thought they were designing him for the tie-in video game, realized their mistake, and fearing the wrath of studio executives, fled to Guatamala, leaving the designs to their fate.


This is him. This is what he looks like.


-I can't even tell if L is awesome anymore! Kenichi Matsuyama plays him, but the voice actor ruins any semblence of Matsuyama's potential goodness. I can't do it.

-ALso, they add a fucking girlfriend. Like, I get why they did it, and it makes sense by the end, but c'mon.

Keep on truckin'

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 9:03 AM By Simon

Happy Halloween/Birthday/Day of the Dead/Thoughts on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs/Whatever

Monday, November 1, 2010 8:56 AM By Simon

-So, because my computer needs to get its shit together, I'm stuck with my Parent's computer, and as the risks for walk-ins is incredibly high, I'm forced to PG-only movies on Netflix. Honestly.

-Which leaves me: Best voice cast ever. That I can think of. At the top of my head.

-Bill Hader (Most undervalued castmember of admittedly abysmal SNL) plays Flint Lockwood, an inventor (who has a Nikola Tesla poster on his wall!) on an island obscured on maps under the 'A' in 'Atlantic', where everyone is forced to eat sardines after the sardine factory closes down. The horror.

-Anyways, he builds a machine that can turn water into food (hilariously, astoundingly impossible, and even if it were, how would that help, say, Ethiopia? One could argue their lack of food directly stems from their lack of water), but shit goes wrong, it ends up in the clouds, it starts raining cheeseburgers, Anna Faris is a wannabe weathergirl, James Caan is the dad with some bitchin eyebrows, Mr. T is a cop who loves his son, Bobb'e J Thompsan is his son, Bruce Cambell is the glutonous/nefarious mayor, Neil Patrick Harris is a monkey, etc.

-Why, this shit made my day. I was expecting, y'know, silly invisible-but-for-the-speed-of-nine-year-olds gags and whatnot, but this waa actually pretty awesome. I kind of wanted to slap the second half in the face, though.

So, here's how shit goes: Tritram Spencer at Waiting for John was so good as to blitz me with a cameo in one of his (weirder) posts:

(click to embiggen)

I did some motherfucking Trick r Treating, where I wore my normal clothes and asemi-nice coat I got two years ago and called myself a serial-killing hobo, my sister got lots of birthday presents, I got none (if I can't even count on her friends to get me something, who can I count on? Who!?)

And then life took a break so I could fall into a candy coma. Good day, all.