Friday, December 30, 2005
It's a Friday night. I'v got the flu. I'm wearing three sweaters, sweatpants, I'm rolled up in a blanket, (and yet I'm still cold!), eating Cheezy Poufs, and watching the World Sumo Challenge on ESPN2. Wild and crazy night, huh?
Anyway, as I was watching the sports announcer try to drag his Grand Master Sumo sidekick up to a conversational trot, (which didn't work), I got to thinking. I thought about how much funnier it was to watch this mismatched pair after having seen DODGEBALL. I thought about the New Years when my family, having just seen BEST IN SHOW, laughed long and hard at the "celebrity announcer" of the National Dog Show on New Years Day because the real celebrity was so much sleazier than the one they could get away with in the movie. I started to think about remade movies, and recalled the moment in the recent version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE where the crowd was yelling "Arthur, Arthur!" at Liev Schreiber. Which immediately led me to think about The Best Christmas Move, EVER.
If any of you doubt that Steve Martin starred in the Best Christmas Movie EVER, then you have woefully misunderstood the genius that is Mr. Martin. Sure, he's the king of pratfalls, of course he made BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, and yes, he's paying the bills right now with CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2. However, for anyone who has ever heard him play the banjo, or seen SHOPGIRL, you know that Steve Martin is an artist. How he chooses to use his talent is the question, not if he has any. For every stupid moneymaker film he's ever made, (FATHER OF THE BRIDE), he has made witty satirical brilliance palatable and entertaining (BOWFINGER.) (Yes, I'm the only person in the world who has seen that movie. Everyone should see it these days, particullarly with all the Tom Cruise hub-bub floating around.) At any rate, Steve Martin is a genius and his Christmas Move, MIXED NUTS, is officially The Best Christmas Movie EVER.
What is MIXED NUTS about? It's about the peculiar warm-weather Christmases which can be found in California. It's about people who are lonely, people who are needy, people who are silly, or outcast, and people who are just rotten. MIXED NUTS has all the charm of WHITE CHRISTMAS (regretably without a lot of male back-up dancers), the hysteria of NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION (I do love Cousin Eddie!), all the pathos of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (except I don't want to kill myself afterwards), and most of the wry commentary found in A CHRISTMAS STORY. MIXED NUTS has it all, and if "all" includes Madeline Kahn rapping, Adam Sandler singing about grape jelly, Parker Posey and Jon Stewart in lycra bike shorts, and Liev Schreiber tangoing with Steve Martin, well, you've got quite a movie. What you've got is in fact The Best Christmas Movie EVER, and if you don't believe me just see it for yourself.
Surprise!! It's a Barbershop movie! This time it's supposed to please the kids AND the parents! It's got Bow Wow! It's got rollerskates! It's got a Hendrick's wanna-be, hot teen girls, afro jokes, bellbottoms, rainbows, and Chicago!
So, what is this movie really about? There's a lot of junk
in it about growing up, and being a parent, and trying hard so you can achieve something. But, really, it's about skating. Okay, skating and 70's clothes. But mostly about the rollerskates. These kids actually learned how to do all of this stuff and it's really good. The skating is great and I wish there was more of it. Instead we are treated to racial diatribes from "Junior" who is just the pint-sized version of the role Cedric the Entertainer invented in the first Barbershop movie. It's nothing you havn't seen before either on an after-school special, or in one of the endless Barbershop franchise films. Patchy, confusing, saccarine, funny, and charming is what we've come to expect and we get it. However, with this film we get a little bit more. We get to see some amazing skating and it brings on memories of when Saturday afternoons were best spent teetering on eight little wheels under a disco ball.
Yeah, I was bored. Lucy, while cute as a button, acted a lot like my niece Jamie when she is "acting", Susan was a complete pill, they changed stuff for no reason, and I got impatient with both the CGI and the need for Peter The Magnificent to do his hero bit.
I heard from assorted friends that Mr. Tumnus was a creepy pedophile but I totally disagreed with that. I believe he acted in a perfectly natural fashion considering that he would be instantly killed or at least painfully tortured for talking to cute little Daughter-of-Eve Lucy. Admittedly his penchant for fabulous scarves, flute playing, and tea parties makes one think he's a touch on the fey side, but there's no harm in that. He's a faun, after all. And fauns have so few accessories.
The costuming was strange. I was confused by the White Witch's need to move completely independantly of her clothing, and her lack of clothing options, but the final battle scene dress was so great I forgive Isis Mussenden for being so dully Nordic in her choices. It was brilliant to make Tilda Swinton a dress that's got a lion's mane made out of Aslan's shorn hair. The coordination of make-up and dress (with the Witch giving herself lion eyes) was perfect in a way that's rarely seen. As for the rest of the costumes, well, we'll be seeing Queen Lucy's dress at The Disney Store in approximately ten minutes since it was apparently designed to be replicated by the ton in South American sweatshops.
I'm trying to figure out why I didn't like this film. It was relatively well done. It... well, while they dropped the patronising bit's from C.S. Lewis (I'm speaking here of the line that angered me as a child "Girls make war ugly." Like it's less ugly w/ just men??) they also dropped a lot of the depth and weight that came with Mr. Lewis. It was pretty but a bit shallow. Like, without the moral weight, why does everyone get so pissed off at Edmund considering he A) could have had no idea that the witch was evil, B) was poisioned, C) was behaving just as badly as all the other kids were!!! Oy. Poor kid.
Anyway, it's not my favorite. And in my next life I want to be a Beaver.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I should probably talk about the heartwarming Christmas experience of hanging out with my sister's in-laws for the entire weekend, or how pleased I was that the Legos I bought for my nieces and nephews were their favorite toys. I might mention the world's worst well-intentioned church choir singing a solid hour of strange Christmas songs which were single-handedly ruined by a 15-year-old soprano. I might mention the fact that I caught the flu from my little nephew, gained three pounds from eating constantly, picked out the perfect gifts for my family, or how I only got 16 hours of sleep in a 72 hour period. But, I won't because those weren't the best parts of Christmas. The part I liked best about Christmas is the crass materialism.
You heard me. I love getting presents. You can talk about peace and love and magic all you want but I love it when people randomly give me stuff. It rocks. And, since it only happens once a year, I would like to detail exactly what I recieved this Holiday Season. I got:
- a black skirt w/ silver sequins
- a Beginning Hula work out DVD
- 48 bangle bracelets
- a pink notepad
- a pink mirror
- a piece of antique linnen
- a Sherlock Holmes book
- a Hello Kitty stationary set
- a personal CD/MP3 player
- a MP3 disk of music from my hairdresser's husband
- LOTS of candy
- a check for $35
- a deck of cards
- a burgundy boucle scarf
- a purple back massager
- a gingerbread man christmas tree ornament
- a copy of SERENITY on DVD.
All of these are excellent gifts but I love the SERENITY DVD the best. I watched it three times on Christmas day. I would have kept watching it except I had taken a lot of cold medicine and was lying on the couch sleeping when my brother in law came and turned it off. I was gratified when the director (in the commentary which I watched all the way through) apologized for only showing Mal shirtless once and for shooting him from the clavicle up 80% of the time. I was happy to see the deleted scenes and was glad they were cut. I'm glad that I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas, and that is a rare enough experience for it to be the Very Best Thing.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Giving it a nice little 7.5 out of 10, this is a martial arts movie that has a lot to do with martial arts but you really can't watch it for the martial arts. Wire Fu haters beware. Perhaps it's just a phase I'm in lately where I'm appreciating highly stylized, bright color movies, but there was a lot of that to this one that I liked. You already know about the dancing mobsters but you really don't know the Kung Fu masters yet and they are pretty awesome comic book type characters. Actually I think that's what this is, a Chinese comic book movie. I have to confess though, there were a couple of the caricatured Kung Fu bits that went a bit too far for me.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
This is one of those movies I actively sought to avoid. Just like FINDING NEVERLAND or THE POLAR EXPRESS, it looked like it was going to be a movie that demanded that you Feel Something Now and it better be exactly what they want you to feel.
I finally gave in and watched this movie. (Incidentally I also saw FINDING NEVERLAND and THE POLAR EXPRESS. NEVERLAND was really good and POLAR EXPRESS was creepy.) SEABISCUT isn't all that amazing. Tobey Maguire actually looked like a red head, which shocked and amazed me, I kept thinking Elizabeth Banks was Parker Posey in disguise, and the cinematography was really well done. As for the rest of it... well, perhaps I missed the Cry Now! cue, but it was a fairly average movie. I don't know if "unoffensive" is what they were going for, but if they were they suceeded admirably.
Monday, December 19, 2005
It's good-natured cheesy fun all about family values and freedom. It also has kid-pleasing silliness, some scenery chewing by Mr. Banderas, and astonishingly beautiful costuming by the ever amazing Graciela Mazon. Ms Mazon also costumed THE MASK OF ZORRO, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (if you havn't seen it, it's really good), DESPERADO, and SPY KIDS 2: ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS (which is better than any of the other SPY KIDS movies.) Ms Mazon is an underappreciated genius and it's a shame she won't be nominated for costuming again by the Academy of Motion Pictures.
It's cute and clever and has bunnies! I'm contstantly astonished over how expressive one little yellow clay dog's eyes can be and the delightful attention to detail.
Best moment in the movie: the near death experience of one very small rabbit.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Nope, I'm not talking about popularity or pop culture, I'm talking about films which deserve the term "art". Since I'm a firm believer that art should be inflicted on everyone ('cause it makes you think!) I nominate METROPOLIS as the first movie to go on the "Required Viewing" list.
Now, to warn you, METROPOLIS is a silent film. I feel I must mention this because I'v been looking around the net and there are some bitterly resentful comments on the lack of color and dialogue. Please. Also, this movie was made in 1927. So, be prepared to be very very impressed by the special effects (which are marvelous) and to be highly entertained by the close talking and dramatic over-acting by the silent film stars. They're just a product of their time so be in their time for a little while. You might learn something.
The take home message of this film, and there is a lot to it, is there can be no understanding between hands and head unless the heart is a mediator. Which dosn't seem to make a lot of sense. However, since Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were big fans of this concept, I think it's a good one to try to absorb.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The first thing my friend said to me after this movie finished was, "That didn't suck!" Tragic 1980's-futuristic costuming aside, this movie really dosn't suck. It takes itself really really seriously (there is exactly one funny moment in the film and it's such a shock that no one quite manages to change gears and laugh), utilizes production shortcuts beloved by the directors of made-for-TV movies (watch for the exact same shot of a gigantic air vent being used repeatedly in reverse), and occasionally reminds me of Star Trek's "Deep Space 9" (when they go down planetside), but it dosn't suck.
That said, I don't think it's for everyone. Not if "everyone" are the people who go to most of the movies being made today which can definately be officially classified as "bummers." If you want something depressing about horrible people who do rotten things for terrible reasons, AEON FLUX isn't your movie. If you want a dramatic movie about noble people who made difficult but righteous decisions, AEON FLUX is also not your movie. [But THE WORK AND THE GLORY II might be.] If you want a silly movie with a lot of slapstick or an improbable love story w/ sickly sweet romantic comedy, AEON FLUX is not your movie. If you're looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon that is as close to the Saturday Morning Cartoons for adults that one can reasonably hope to get away with, AEON FLUX is definitely your movie.
And the best thing is, it dosn't suck.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Whenever you are sick and lying on the couch watching television because you don't want to go back to feeling lousy in your bed, I recommend this movie. It's a French film from 1964 that, stay with me here, has dialogue which is exclusively sung.
Right. I know what you're thinking. I was obviously high on cough syrup because there's no way you're watching a French musical. Well, I might have had a shot or two of the guaifenesin but that dosn't mean this movie isn't delightful. For some reason French makes more sense, is more clear and simple when it's sung. By the end of the movie you can't even tell it's singing at all, as there isn't any of the bombastic showy singing one normally associates w/ musicals. This isn't a musical. This movie has no dancing, huge chorus numbers, duets, or ridiculous high/loud/long singing. The overall singing range (and I noticed this because I am a singer) is spectacularly high so one gets more of the choirboy vibe rather than the Broadway belter.
As for the story, well, it's your average girl-boy-meet, boy-gets-drafted, girl-gets-pregnant plot. Which is fantastic. What's more amazing is the color. This was the directors first color film and he went nuts. My roomate and I laughed a lot when Genevive's mother's clothing exactly matched the bright red and orange flock wallpaper. It's a very 1960's color pallette. It's all psychedelic colors for no reason at all, reflecting, I think, the triumph of the abstract over the descriptive which was a trend in all the arts at the time.
Anyway, it's haunting and cool. From all the reviews I'v read it makes people cry a lot. I didn't cry. I did like it, though. It's beautiful and socialy concious and French and will probalby burn out your corneas, but it's also sweet and simple and clean and common. Makes me want to either sing all my sentances, wear 60's sack dresses, or go to the opera. Probalby all three.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
THE PRODUCERS [http://imdb.com/title/tt0395251/]
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA [http://imdb.com/title/tt0397535/]
KING KONG [http://imdb.com/title/tt0397535/]
WALLACE AND GROMMIT [http://imdb.com/title/tt0312004/]
HARRY POTTER [http://imdb.com/title/tt0330373/]
PARADISE NOW [http://imdb.com/title/tt0445620/]
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS [http://imdb.com/title/tt0428803/]
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK [http://imdb.com/title/tt0433383/]
NEW YORK DOLL [http://imdb.com/title/tt0436629/]
ZORRO/ZARTHURA/AEON FLUX (dosn't matter which one.) [http://imdb.com]
Monday, November 28, 2005
Which means, it's time for the Thanksgiving Movie TEST!!! Below is a list of the movies my family might have enjoyed this weekend. See if you can guess who wanted to watch what. (Some names will be repeated and some will not be used.)
____1. SHAOLIN SOCCER (starring Stephen Chow)
____2. CON AIR (starring Nicholas Cage)
____3. THE ALAMO (starring Billy Bob)
____4. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (starring Jim Carrey)
____5. DECIEVED (starring Goldie Hawn)
____6. CIRCQUE DU SOLEIL: VAREKAI (starring circus performers in strange costumes)
____7. BELLYDANCE TRAY BALANCING TECHNIQUE: QUEEN OF FLOWERS (starring Neon)
____8. HARRY POTTER IV (starring everybody)
B. Football loving Bro-in-law
C. Assorted Children aged 13 to 5
D. Big sister
E. Little sister
F. Your Mother
Bonus Points: Guess which movie/s we DIDN'T see!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
This movie is a documentary about a man named Henry Darger. Mr. Darger was an orphan who was raised in various asylums and ended up retiring from a janitorial job he held since his adolescence. When he died they found his room filled with a 15,000 page novel, detailed notes about the novel, an autobiography, and over 300 paintings illustrating his story.
It's an astonishing amount of work and a really really good documentary. The director dosn't make decisions but instead shows you this imaginary realm from Darger's perspective. It's actually most amazing that they managed to assimilate such a mass of stuff into a movie that's not very long.
Anyway, it's mind-blowing, in the true sense of the term.
Monday, November 21, 2005
I can’t make fun of all the devoted fans who dressed up like Harry Potter with capes and scarves (I noticed the Britany Spears-Schoolgirl outfit hottie with the cape got more than a few “Hey Baby”s) since I too, stood in line. I went to the midnight viewing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Thursday (technically Friday a.m.), and considering all the aches and pains that suddenly crop up between 12:30 am and 3:00 am, I really liked this movie. I’d give it a 9. I liked it way better than HP3.
This film is surprisingly good.
I went to see it with a sort of resigned attitude. I didn't believe anyone could do a re-make after the exhausting mini-series version done by A&E a ten years ago.
And, really, it isn't as true to the book (that I'v probably read twice a year since I was eight years old) as the A& E. However, that dosn't stop this from being a beautiful lush film. The scenery and costuming alone manage to communicate the old-world aristocracy vs peasants battle inherant in the matching of Darcy and Elizabeth and then resolves them with the French Revolution, Rights of Man, triumph of the human spirit sort of thing. Which is cool. I was delighted and astonished to see how real everything looked in this film. So often Jane Austin assumed the reader would know what things looked like. The cinematography showed me an England I'v never seen. It's glorious and refreshing.
Darcy is very good, if much softer than the Darcy we're all used to. He's trying just as hard to break out of his class restrictions as Elizabeth is trying to transcend them. One thing to note, he's never seen on a horse after he notes that Elizabeth likes to walk a lot. They end up getting engaged in the early morning mist they had both been wandering through like a couple of Romantic poets.
Everyone else is good in this film as well, except for Keira Knightly who can't act or at least can't be bothered to because she's perfectly content to make her overbite-y "I'm gonna eat your face and laugh while I'm doing it" face. So, if she gets a "Best Actress" nomination from anyone I'll be really pissed. However, I do believe this film should garner all sorts of other nominations. It's a breathtaking new look at an old favorite.
Friday, November 18, 2005
This is another Dollar Store find. It needs to be seen to experience the horror of it all. Compared to this, Mariah Carry’s GLITTER was Fabulous.
I bought this movie about a year ago. As I was unpacking and sorting through my DVD’s I thought maybe I’d give this movie another try before I toss it out. Who knows, it might be a holiday classic.
Well, Tim Allen’s SANTA CLAUSE this is not. It’s not even as fun and campy as an “Addam’s Family Christmas” could possibly be. This Santa version is more like “Santa vs. the Devil- meets It’s a Small World” with some Music-Dance- Theater’s interpretive dance numbers and a whole lot of bad dubbing.
The first time I saw this movie was last year with the nieces and nephew, and we only lasted thru 10 minutes of it.
Here we were expecting a cheesy, feel-good Christmas movie, something along the lines of “miracle on 34th St” and instead what do we get? A long boring musical into where we meet kids from around the world, which somehow transitions into dancing demons in Hell. My response: What the, Oh, it is Hell. We were all horrified, and turned it off. I’m sure the kids had nightmares. I know I felt dirty.
So this time, armed with Gatorade and muscle relaxers, and the beginnings of a cold, it wasn’t as terrifying as I remembered. (Please note: sick =lacking in mental judgment. For example; I watched Cat Woman the last time I was sick, and kinda liked it) [see CATWOMAN]
The dancing and singing devils weren’t that bad, but their outfits were. They had shakespereare-esque poofy shorts and tights. How terrifying can demons be in poofy pants? They didn’t’ have codpieces, thank goodness (this is a children’s movie)
By the looks of things, I’d say this movie was made in the 50’s or maybe the 60’s, I really couldn’t’ tell. The sets, such as Santa’s castle had the sparse, space-age pre-MOD look to it. (Before the lovely avocado green, this was orange and white with woodwork cutouts.
The gist of the story is this; the dancing devil is sent to earth by Lucifer (after threatening him with the horrors of ice-cream if he fails, quite funny) to tempt kids to be bad and steal and to not believe in Santa. Santa finds out about this plan, and finds two kids that resist the devil’s temptations. He then gives them the gift of their dreams on Christmas.
For a while during the movie, I forgot all abut the devil, since we get to see Merlin a wizard who is locked away making magical things for Santa, such as the machine to see all the kids in the world, hear what they are saying, the crystal ball to see kid’s dreams, and much more.
There’s a dream sequence with another musical dance number, this time with a bunch of life-size dolls. These dolls come to life and dance around a little girl. The dolls have 2 faces, a happy one on the front and a sad face on the back. This would be OK, but for the big black bug eyes the size of saucers, which makes the whole thing a dark scary version of Cirque de Soleil. I was waiting for the little girl to wig out, but she never did. (That’s what I want for Christmas, a 2 faced scary life-sized doll)
Then it’s Christmas Eve, and Santa’s 4 wind-up toy reindeer pull his sleigh around to deliver toys the devil shows up again and tries to stop Santa, but his plans are foiled every time. In the end, the little girl gets a pretty doll and a little rich boy gets the love of his parents who both –after drinking a smoking cocktail – realized they have to go home and se their boy. I don’t’ know about you, but I didn’t’ know Santa handed out free drinks, but much less smoking fancy ones.
Overall, I’d give it a 3. It’s crazy. (Try it with Robotussin, it might be better.)
[for more information see : http://www.kgordonmurray.com/history.html or http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053241/ or http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2000-12-22/screens_video2.html ]
This is the weirdest movie I have ever seen. Really. It sort of has the Dr. Seuss charm but somehow it's diluted by the muted colors of the 1950's and the disturbing images of small boys being locked up and starving tortured musicians.
So, what's this thing about? It's about a boy who hates his piano teacher. The boy falls asleep and has a dream that the local plumber helps him, eventually, free his mother from the trap of the fanatical Dr. T. I found it strange that this movie has about 150 men, 200 small boys, and only one (1) woman -- the boy's mother who appears to be stoned out of her mind most of the time. There are lots and lots of musical numbers, most of which are a bit too long, but some of them (the orchestra in the dungeon and the dressing of Dr. T) are really delightful. Also featured is the best "danced fight" scene I'v ever seen outside of WEST SIDE STORY.
I don't know what to think, actually. Some of the academic things I'v read say that it's Dr. Seuss' take on nazism, w/ Dr. T representing Hitler (sans mustache), and the little boys and musicians being placed in piano concentration camp. Or, they say it's an advertising campaign for raising your children in a loving and open way, as opposed to the "shut up and do as I say" old-school theories. Or, I could just be a NAMBLA promotional video. I have no idea. It's just too weird for me.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Bonnie Hunt is a genius. So is Steve Martin. It's nice when child actors are good. Hillary Duff ruined this film. It's cute (definately one I'd recommend for my nieces and nephew to watch) but it has some weaknesses in directing. (If you aren't going to use a prop more than once, don't build it and don't make us look at it.) With a lot of kids, there is a lot going on, and that makes it hard to tell all the stories. However, they do a pretty good job. I'll probably go see CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 when it comes out in theaters 'cause, well, I want to support Bonnie and Steve. However, if Miss Duff happens to be "gone to college" and conveniantly NOT in the second movie, I'll be a lot happier about things.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I found Marlon Brando’s “One-Eyed Jacks” at Naudy’s favorite store, BigLots. I don’t know what sold me more, the words “The one and only film directed by Marlon Brando” of the selling price of just $1.00! Either way, I knew I had to buy this movie.
The jacket goes on to say (and I have to quote here so you can get the full picture) “Marlon Brando’s first and only directing venture, is a stirring western classic (more like classic Lifetime For Women, my personal favorite, “I Woke Up Pregnant” ) featuring breathtaking cinematography (Brando had his own personal lighting, which was perfect) and a magnificent musical score. (Hum.. interestingly not a mention of any awarding winning performances) Not only did Marlon Brando direct this motion picture masterpiece, lauded as Martin Scorsese’s favorite Western, But Brando also took on the premiere role of Rio, a man betrayed by Dad Longworth (Karl Malden), his one-time partner in crime. The desperadoe’s falling out occurs when Rio and Dad are out on the lam following a bank hold-up in Mexico. As they are running from the law, Dad takes the opportunity to escape with the stolen gold, leaving Rio in the lurch. Because of Dad’s desertion, Rio is apprehended and sent up the river to do hard time. Years later Rio gets out of the slammer and goes after his double-crossing ex-partner to get revenge. He located Dad in California and is outrages to learn that the former outlaw has become a powerful, affluent sheriff. Now, not only are the two men at odds with each other, but they are on opposite sides of the law as well. The stolen gold has made Dad wealthy, and he would like nothing better than to be rid of Rio for good. (Probably since Rio is now putting the moves on Dad’s hot stepdaughter) but Rio has an agenda of vengeance and is willing to do whatever is necessary to finally settle the score.”
The story is just a backdrop to watch Marlon Brando. Brando knows he’s hot. He made a movie just for all the women in the world who were in love with him. There’s lots of Marlon reclining in that sexy, relaxed “I’m hot, and I know you want me” pose. I laughed quite a bit at the buttons about to pop off the too tight shirt straining across the beginnings of Brando’s poochy belly. Which made Brando’s smoldering “I’m too sexy for my buttons” look more funny than revolting. But I’m sure there were women in theaters audiences across America swooning at the sight. Except for the parts when I was distracted by the unflattering tight shirt, I did appreciate the cameraman, who made Brando look fabulous the entire time.
The opening shot is of Marlon Brando sitting on top of a counter, with his legs crossed, lighting a cigarette or playing with a gun or something, it doesn’t really matter what he’s doing, you just know he’s really saying to the camera, “Hello there, How YOU do’n? My first thought was “what a dandy” and then my second was “his legs sure are crossed tight”. And I won’t venture further with that.
Brando does a wonderful job showing all the many different facial emotions. (He has ‘Sexpot” down great) The first “here’s my emotion face” is manic/crazed. I swear he looks exactly like Billy Zane from Titanic and The Phantom and better yet, Arnold Vosloo, the priest Imotep thing in Brandon Fraiser’s The Mummy movie.
The whole ‘revenge’ thing is there, but mostly to serve as fuel for the love-interest to beg and plead Brando with “don’t kill my father”. (This “Western” really is a cheesy love story, not a John Wayne testosterone-y Western) This story is a romance novel’s version of a “western” since Brando seduces Dad’s stepdaughter, who then gets pregnant. Brando has to leave town since the law is once again chasing him. He of course promises the girl he loves her and he’ll be back for her and the baby. There’s a lot of blah, blah, blah, but you get the drift.
The movie is set in Mexico, and it’s a good thing I know Spanish, since there’s a lot of Spanish going on and there’s no subtitles. The Spanish Brando speaks is actually pretty good, and so is his accent. (Brando’s voice on the other hand, is another matter. When he speaks, I just expect Italian or something mafia to come out of his mouth. But once I got over that, it wasn’t too bad.) The only thing that’s in Spanish that’s remotely important is when the hot stepdaughter comes back from spending the night with Brando on the beach, and her mom asks her if she ‘slept’ with him and this time she says yes. All the other times it’s the standard “nothing happened”. But if you ask her in Spanish, she can’t lie or something. Everyone will be able to figure out what’s going on even by all the dramatic over-acting. So once again, it’s a Lifetime for Women love story that has a 60’s cheesecake (no beef here) actor.
I’d give this an 3-5 in general for but an 8 just for the Brando “I’m so hot” cheese fest.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Tom Cruise is a big fat jerk. Spielberg can still make movies. Sound effects are cool. People, particullarly when they are trying to not be eaten by giant alien thingys, are not cool. Tim Robbins is a freaking genius. Alien reconnaisance is lousy. Growing mold soaked in blood is disturbing. The cinematography is mind-blowing. It's definately worth the dollar-fifty I paid to see it, and it was nice to be in the cheap theater 'cause I caught myself talking through it.
Mostly I was saying "What a jerk!" Tom Cruise = someone I want to punch in the mouth.
Ya gotta love any movie that has the tag line "Go Kick Some Grass!!!" Steven Chow, who now is famous for KUNG FU HUSTLE, made and starred in this great film. I liked this more than KUNG FU HUSTLE. SHAOLIN SOCCER is funnier, has less violence, fewer in-jokes, and sillier stunts. It also has a soccer club called Team Evil, the Praying Mantis form of kung fu, and drag queens, which is pretty much all I need in a film. Definately a DVD that's going on the Christmas list.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
It's nice to know that, as an actor, there's a certain time of life when no matter how old you are or how bad the movie is, your talent isn't questioned. Michael Caine is one of these grand old men. So is Robert Duval. On the otherhand, it's nice to know that we havn't had to see Haley Joel Osmont for the past three years because this movie actually was that bad. Haley was cute in SIXTH SENSE and he's not growing up to be as ugly as Macauly Culkin but he's definately no Dakota Fanning.
Anyway, all that aside, the real fault of this film is in the directing. The director/writer is Tim McCanlies, who adapted the book The Iron Giant for the criminally-undervalued film. (THE IRON GIANT is brillant! See it!) Often people try to put too much junk into one moment (see: Jim Carrey), one story (see: Robert Jordan), one film (see: SECONDHAND LIONS), one sentance (see: this one!). It reminds me of a kid I used to go to school with. Gabriel was a jazz pianist and could make up new melodies and riffs with almost every breath. We all thought it was cool. (I was particullarly jealous since I couldn't make up even ONE melody that didn't sound like something else. I still remember my sister telling me I couldn't use my - I thought - original melody on a class assignment 'cause it "sounds like the theme song to Tarzan.") My theory teacher, a jazz pianist himself, didn't think it was cool. He always told Gabe that is was messy, that there was too much junk in his music, and throwing ideas at people wasn't music, it was just throwing ideas. The real music comes from one idea, maybe two, and then building everything from there.
The same principle holds true with this movie. There are four or five themes, too many "cry now 'cause this is touching" moments, some ploddish humor, and way too many loose ends by the end of the movie. The real charm comes from Michael Caine and Robert Duval who are such professionals that all the moments the director didn't direct are full of the brilliance these men always bring to a performance.
So, what's the final verdict on the movie that wanted to be BIG FISH? Writers should maybe not direct, don't trust a child actor to always be good, and old Lions (of the Stage) just get better with age.
Monday, November 07, 2005
This movie makes me happy. David Bryne is the lead singer for The Talking Heads and narrator / country-western-suit-wearing observer of this movie about a typical Texas town during the sesqui- centennial. Since I grew up in a typical Texas town during the sesqui- centennial (look! I can spell sesqui- centennial!) it makes me happy. But, more than that, I love this movie because there is a lot of strange stuff and Mr. Bryne just observes it. There's never any lambasting or opinion or judgement, he just watches it all, nods his head, and drives on in his privately-owned red convertable.
Incidentally there are also some really great Talking Heads songs in this movie, as well as a fabulous John Goodman, the best fashion show -- EVER!!!, and a mojo man. If you watch there are subtle commentaries on race relations and class distinctions as well as economic breakdowns in typical Texas which I almost missed because they seem so normal to me. To Mr. Bryne, though, they're totally alien, and it's through his quiet accepting eyes we see how strange and familiar True Stories can be.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Improbable. Icky. Not nearly enough male nakedness. These are the three things which come to mind as I think about TRANSPORTER 2. The picture shown here is the moment right before the skanky girl shows us the underside of her tounge while licking our boy Frank's face. Seriously nasty. Which fits since this girl is also seriously nasty. She's supposed to be a homocidal psychopath but I just think she's poorly-dressed and improbable. She might be thin enough to conceal two silenced .45's under her kinky nurse's dress but she is way too thin to remain standing on her 6-inch heels while shooting with both of them. Of course it's okay since Jason Statham runs around a lot while she's shooting and since she dosn't have the muscle strength to shoot straight it works out fine. If her bullet spread looks anything like mine when I'm trying use a Glock 9mm I imagine she's really only doing a lot of damage to the floor to her left.
Also on the improbable front, Frank manages to get a bomb off the underside of his car by scraping it on a hook hanging mid-air, refuses to hit a girl (he kicks her instead), and dosn't sleep with the love interest. Also strange, since the movie is set/filmed in Miami, there is only one Latino shown on screen and he's the bad guy. We do, however, see a lot of Africian Americans, which I found interesting. And, considering the rest of the film's elements -- one ethnic-looking child to save, lots of kung-fu moves, pimped out dark cars, two small-breasted iconic women (one chaste sweet mother and one vicious homocidal whore), incidental Russians, and no brown people -- it makes me think that this film is designed for an Asian/European audience.
They can have it. If Mr. Statham had removed his shirt for at least 45 more seconds, I might protest a bit more but as things stand I expect this will do very well overseas.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Less nauseating than most Disney flixs, which makes sense since it's NOT a Disney show. It's like HEATHERS w/out death, SKY HIGH w/out super-powers, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT w/out Seth Green, THE BREAKFAST CLUB w/out the angst, ROCK'N'ROLL HIGH SCHOOL w/out the Ramones, and CLUELESS w/out dating your step-brother.
So, what does it have? It's got Lindsay Lohan w/ enough weight on her to look like Brittany Spears. It's got a whole new catogorization of the cliques in a California (cool Asians and geek Asians). It's got a lot of short skirts, high heels, terrifying mothers, fancy cars, rude comments, and an outrageous amount of pink. It's also got our protagonist Cady actually paying the penalty for behaving badly, which is a refreshing change in the high-school-trauma-drama genre.
SEEKING: SWF, DWF willing to give up unreasonable expectations for intelligent, clever, well-performed film & settle for something that looks okay & brings home a decent paycheck.
ABOUT ME: I am every Lifetime-watcher's dream. Not only do I have cute men, cute animals, a loving family, close sisters, and obscure values, but I explain very clearly exactly the sort of woman you should be. Women who aren't 1) perfectly built, 2) passive, 3) day-care teachers, 4) nice to small animals, 5) willing to compromise, and 6) Catholic need not apply.
Friday, October 28, 2005
This movie was loaned to me by a friend who insisted it be put on my "Required Movies" list. It is a required movie. Hayao Miyazaki, creator of other very popular films like PRINCESS MONONOKE and the Oscar Award-winning SPIRITED AWAY made this delightful film about a family who has moved to the Japanese countryside. It's beautifully realistic while having elements of playfulness and magic. Totoro, after all, is the spirit king of the forest. Only kids who aren't jaded can see him which means our two little girls can see him.
TOTORO is what I would consider a beginning-level Japanese animae movie. Miyazaki often uses the same character archetypes and this movie is a good introduction to them. SPIRITED AWAY is a really great movie, but it's awfully confusing to an American audience unfamiliar with Japanese mythology. My little nephew loves NAUSICA but mainly because he can't quite figure it out. TOTORO is accessable, sweet and, unlike everything by Disney, has no bad guys and nothing scary. It's definately going on my Required Viewing list and on my "Things To Buy My Sister's Children" list, too!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
HONKY TONK FREEWAY: a 6 for having a real rinocerous
HARUM SCARUM: a 4 for poor spelling
I don't know what you have in your town but where I live, we have stores called Big!Lots. Big!Lots sells all the strange, unappetising, and ugly things other stores couldn't manage to get rid of any other way.
I know you won't be surprised to hear that I shop at this store. Weird things appeal to me and cheap stuff is even better. I could happily eat for a year on food exclusively from Big!Lots, but I'm probably the only person who enjoys Fish Steak (in Chili Oil) on Light Rye Crackers.
Anyway, yesterday I was wandering around the local Big!Lots and found the cheap/discounted/bad movies. After snickering at the 60+ copies of BATTLEFIELD EARTH (Still Available!! Only $2.99!!) (and I already own a copy of BATTLEFEILD EARTH. Yes, it is that bad.) I started to browse and found some things. HONKY TONK FREEWAY is about a lot of random people and a small town in Florida. It has every '70's actor in the world in it and I thought it was funny. I found it to be a satisfying $2.99 purchase. In fact, I'll probably force others to watch it.
As for HARUM SCARUM, it's probably the worst Elvis movie ever made. Which means I had to have it. There's no way to describe the fleshy flesh-toned glory that is The King at the end of his film career, but that dosn't mean you shouldn't see it.
Admittly, you should probably watch this with a voicerifous pack of people who are strung out on sugar but that still dosn't mean it's not worth the price I paid for it.
Overall I enjoyed this movie. It is basically a biography of the revered and loathed Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) whose famous reports did something of an apocalyptic stir-fry on the common assumptions about human sexuality of the time.
Although Kinsey is obviously the hero of the story and there’s a desire on part of the movie to push the agenda of free love and special sauce for everyone, some of the less happy bits about his research are not shied away from. Nor is his character given to be squeaky pristine even from the “if it feels good it’s alright” perspective.
I was definitely interested in his change from humored if unappreciated entomologist to rock-star sexologist and how the one precipitated the other. It was also interesting to see the impact that his almost purely clinical empirical view of the universe had on things like his family life and relationships with his assisting researchers.
The movie is rated R for blatant sex stuff going on. However, as I've read in another review, it is all very clinical, empirical, and detatched. If you're looking for porn don't bother unless you're a physicist or something.
At the end of the day, I appreciated the work he did and was frustrated by the many costs. And when I order a burger, I still ask them to hold the free love and special sauce.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Since I don't have to go to work tomorrow until noon (my hairdresser is coming to my house to cut my hair at 9:30am. You heard me: she's coming to my house. MY HAIRDRESSER LOVES ME!! It's wonderful to have someone when I've been alone with my hair for so long...) the best thing to do after a long day was to read reviews of bad movies on Spiderpop.com (warning: they use bad words) until midnight and then start a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE double header while filling gelcaps with ground tumeric (I'll explain later) and eating large marshmallows. (Number of marshmallows naudy can eat before getting sick: 15)
As I can't remember a lot of the movie (I'll never eat marshmallows again! Someone get me away from the sugar!! It's like an episode of 'Home Movies'!!!) I made sure to take notes. And, since my copy of the Denzel Washington 2004 re-make of the movie arrived cracked in the mail, I was not forced to watch the newer movie. I am glad of this. This is a movie that should not be remade. The original is already what 1962 aspired to be. So, in honor of The Wee Small
Hours of the Morning (an excellent Sinatra album which I'm listening to right now in honor of Frank actually being in the film I just watched) I now present my notes on this film:
Korea 1952? Frank Sinatra?? We're 45 seconds into this movie and I'm already seeing Korean hookers???
Nice film noir/Kurasawa rip-off shot
Traitorous Korean! I should have known I couldn't trust him!
Is that a black man? They had those in 1962?
Nice music! Go David Amram!
Ah! The major! He's hot in that "Wonder Woman would really dig him" sort of way. However, he's got a British accent.... what's up w/ that?
Angela Landsbury! She must be evil!
He calls his mother "Mother" and he's angry with her 'cause she's throwing him a parade. He's got issues.
Note to self: Get private plane and have twinkle lights installed over the mini-bar area.
Angela Landsbury just called someone a Communist!!!
Sweaty fleshy mumbling Sinatra lying in a bed. Sad prophesy of the future....
At last! After a really long lecture about hydrangeas, we see it's all a brainwashing scam by the Russians and Chinese!! What a surprise!! Good thing they didn't make me wait the whole movie to figure that one out!
Another black man! Cool!
8 marshmallows = faintly sick
Nat King Cole look-alike wakes up from nightmare screaming!
Is it bad to like the evil Chinese doctor? He's just so cheerful!
Sinatra plays against type as the insomniac chain-smoking alcoholic bookworm who hangs around in a MacArthur army jacket. Seriously? You know Frank wasn't that into books....
Why would you ask a blond bombshell of a woman who just lit a cigarette for you 'cause you've got the shakes if she's Arabic? Is that some sort of kinky 1962 code?
Weirdest pick-up I've ever seen.
Frank Sinatra -- Action Hero!
Number of loud pointless telephone conversations in Spanish: 1
Blond shows up at police station to bail out Frank and tells him, (while licking a handkerchief and cleaning the blood off his face and after having lit his cigarette,) that she dumped her fiance because she wants to be with our boy Sinatra. They then kiss. Frighteningly, I think this is cool. Too much sugar...
Total marshmallow count: 14. Officially sick.
Quote: "Of course I'm interested! [in listening to the Congressional Medal of Honor winner talk about why he hates his mother.] It's like listening to Orestes gripe about Clytemnestra!" Best. And. Most. Improbable. Sinatra. Line. EVER!!!
Cigarette count at 1 hr 4 min: 19
Man in 1950's bathing trunks! Snake bite! Girl is babbling on in a charming way and then takes off her shirt! She's wearing hot pants and then rides her bike home!!! What kind of movie is this!!!!
Nice! An ACLU reference. These guys are hip.
There have already been more African-Americans in this film than any 10 non-Wayans-brothers films this year.
+38 points to Angela Landsbury for Most Terrifying Cold War Speech EVER!!!
Loose lips sink ships and guys in Army Intelligence shouldn't be telling their non-Arab(?) girlfriends about state secrets.
Number of cigarettes at 1hr 40 min: 27
EEEEWWW!!! MOM KISS ON THE MOUTH AND IT'S LONG!!!!
Madison Square Garden in 1962 -- still dumpy
Total swear words in this film: 4 [all of them are the word "hell" and Frank says two of them in the last 30 seconds when he's supposed to be acting ]
The best way to end a movie? With a lightning bolt and a roll of thunder. Good way to distract from Franks limitations.
One more marshmallow brings the total to 15. You'll need to excuse me as I think my pancreas just went into shock.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I wish I could tell everyone to see this movie but I can't. I laughed myself sick but a lot of the jokes aren't funny unless you've seen more Hindi films than are really good for you. The movie is about a guy named Hari (see picture) who leaves India to live with family in Houston, TX. One of the best moments is when Hari and his cousin are leaving to go to school in the morning. His aunt comes up and puts American flag stickers on them and tucks little flags in their bookbags. His cousin tells his mom that people aren't that stuipd and will know that they aren't terrorists. His mom just tells Hari to tell everyone he was born in the U.S.
I laughed so hard I had to rewind it and make my roomate watch it. What was better was Hari and his cousin had little flags and flag pins on them for the rest of the movie. Constant source of amusement, particullarly when the Indian guys who ran the local conveniance store had flags everywhere, too.
Of course there's a moral dilemma, what with all the Desi kids (Desi= Western Asian born/raised in the U.S.) wanting to ignore/be rude to the "F.O.B." (Fresh Off the Boat) kids. And, of course it's solved properly but not before our boy Hari learns to use deodorant ("It makes me feel fresh and clean like I'v never felt before! Plus, the ladies love it!") and gets the mandatory hot-Indian-guy makeover (black shirt w/ open collar, white suit.)
Anyway, I loved it. You might not. [see "Beginning Bollywood"] If you liked/could stand HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM you'll laugh at this movie.
Everyone has to see this movie. Really. i have not seen any of the 27-ish other Zatoichi movies, i didn't even know there WERE 27 otherZatoichi movies. i just went to it cause i don't get many chances to see a samurai movie in an actual theater and i thought it might be cool. And it was $1.50 -- that always helps. so there was the usual sort of plot i was expecting for this kind of movie, and it had the requisite flashbacks, but there was more. much more. any movie that has: (spoileralert!)
- a masseuse (who is old and our titular hero and makes sly sexual innuendos at a older lady he meets!)
- a drag-queen geisha(who looks like Michael Jackson. really.)
- a drag-queen geisha sharing a bath with a bumbling compulsive gamblerwho then
- wants to be "pretty" and dresses up and
- scares the local gang of kids, and
- the greatest, longest, weirdest, stomp/kabuki/tap/Broadway musicalnumber where they tap dance in geta sandals (no lie!) and has to be like 5 minutes long,all in sub-titled letterbox, just makes this my kind of movie.
I'm going to buy it. if you ask nicely, you can borrow it.
I totally loved this movie. Yes, its "R". Yes, it has lots of graphic language. But it also has characters that behave like real people (and by that i mean real guys). Even the language is real- its all guys trying to out-gross each other. I loved it because during all the stupid things they do to/with each other you can feel the normal (unspoken) guyfriend sort of affection these people have for each other. Sure, there were a couple of times the premise and the jokes were a little thin, (i thought the whole scene with the drunk driver girl was pretty lame and really didn't do much to forward the plot) but even in these thin moments, Steve Carell does Andy with such a guileless blank stare that you don't seem to mind.
My favorite parts were:
- when EVERYONE at work finds out Andy is a virgin they give him hell and then he runs away like a 5yr old.
- when Andy and a pal hang out playing video games they swap "i knowyour gay 'cause.." lines.
- when one pal smacks and pokes and bugs another one into going over and talking to a girl.
And for everyone who is worried, there is not any sex in this movie at all until the very end- and its not very graphic and only lasts for aprox. 1 minute (joke!) - and then there is a big musical number with the whole cast.
So basically, if dirty language is alright with you, see this movie.
Monday, October 17, 2005
OCTOBER 15 -23, 2005
CALL 355-ARTS FOR TICKET INFO
It's in French so don't expect it to be a) exciting, b) overdramatic, or c) in English. My buddies in the chorus complain that all the applause at the end of the performace is best described as "polite." They get polite applause because it's a polite piece of theater. There are lovely chorus pieces, some sweet arias, and lucious lighting and set design. Costumes are a bit messy (Juliette being immersed in wads and bundles of white gauze while the menfolk all have flower-print tunics on) but I always have a problem with their costuming (and the unfortunate penchant for crushed velvet.) I will make a definitative statement and say, though it may surprise you, that not all men are shown to their advantage while wearing tights and a codpiece. I know. It's shocking. I, as a red-blooded American woman, should be all about the wanton display of male near-nudity, but I really just find it unsettling, particullarly when we're talking about opera singers. A lot of those guys are doing good to maintain a consistent panda-bear-like shape. Tights don't help. Codpieces, at the best of times are troubling. At the Utah Opera they're downright off-putting.
What is interesting (i.e. different) about this production of R&J is the advertising campaign. They dropped the ticket prices ($10!), and have created all these "youthful" (aka "silly") radio and televison spots to promote this production. They let me know that Juliette is on the "blogsphere" [http://yonderwindowbreaks.blogspot.com/] I even got a letter from the opera telling me The top five reasons why this is a must-see production. Are you curious? "What could be the top five!" you ask? "How could they narrow it down to just five reasons!" you blurt? "When they wrote this list did they have me (someone under 70 yrs old) in mind" you ponder? "Hurry up and tell me so we can get this over with!" you demand?? Well, here you go:
- It's Shakespear, dummy, and you know that's good for you.
- Charles Gounod (composer) is good at pretty love duets and it's the best version of this play in opera form that we've got. So, this sucks less than a lot of other things, therefore, it's good for you.
- !!REALISTIC SWORDFIGHTING!! REALLY!!! IT'S WORTH YOUR TICKET PRICE JUST TO SEE IF UNCOORDINATED OVERWEIGHT OPERA SINGERS MANAGE NOT TO IMPALE THEMSELVES OR OTHERS WHILE DOING ALL THEIR CHOREOGRAPHY AT HALF-SPEED!!!
- It's a really big chorus! (meaning: We've got contracts to fufill people, so get your butts in the seats! It's good for you!)
- Romeo and Juliette are married in real life!! They roll around in bed together all the time so it's okay that they're doing it on stage!! And if you know what's good for you, you'll come!!!!
I'm pleased to say that I could. And, if you go to the opera, you can see her cleavage, too.
It's hard to get over this movie. My buddy V invited some kids over for the annual Halloween viewing of this classic bit of 1964 drive-in-movie horror. And horrible it is, though it's also really funny. I talked through the entire thing 'cause if I hadn't I might have gotten scared.
"What's it about", you ask? Don't ask. You don't really want to know 'cause then it won't be as funny.. or as terrible. Suffice to say, no one is a giant arachnid, no one wears shoes, and the negative effects of cousin-luvin' are made plainly evident. I also learned that if I happen to end up with some mutant aunts and uncles suffering from a "regressive" disease, it's best to keep them mewling pitifully in a pit dug into the basement floor.
For more story information see http://www.processionofthedamned.com/baby.htm
To purchase a copy of this DVD see http://www.bestprices.com/cgi-bin/vlink/014381586022IE.html
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I love this movie. They created the coolest world --EVER!-- and we get to see it! If you ask someone who knew anything about the making of this film, there will be some disgruntlement 'cause apparently it was a musical at first. According to the one industry source I have, the distributing company "ripped out all the good stuff, tarted it up with a bunch of pop-culture trash and messed it up good."
I still liked it. I like that Rodney Copperbottom's design (the protagonist voiced by Ewan McGregor) was based on a VW Minibus and an Evenrude outboard motor. I like the way everything isn't shiny and I like the music (percussion provided by the Blue Man Group.)
So, even though this film recieved short shrift in the theaters, it's worth looking at. Get the DVD and enjoy!
Friday, October 14, 2005
First of all, let me go off subject for a moment and suggest 36 Hour Vacations for everyone. I'v discovered that taking off one day in the middle of the week is just enough time to do all thing things you like to do when you're on vacation but not enough time for it to be detrimental to your health. My normal list of vacation pleasures includes staying up too late, eating too much, sleeping poorly in a strange uncomfortable bed, and steadfastly refusing to brush my hair. Fortunately my sister's house includes all of these delights and after 36 hours I return home only slightly exhausted, sick, and in dire need of a strong detangler.
Anyway, after a dinner of bacon-wrapped steak, green beans, and watching my niece Jamie eat only half of a baked potato with indolent vicissitude (she was sulking because she didn't get her own steak knife. In her few seven years of life she's managed to turn non-verbal whining into an art form) the family remembered that I had yet to see HITCH. [see 50 FIRST DATES] So we turned it on and I discovered that the name HITCH is the Readers Digest version of the name. In reality this movie is titled "ALEX HITCHENS: A LOVE POEM TO THE SENSITIVE NEW AGE METROSEXUAL MAN AS TOLD BY LIFETIME TELEVISION". (see "Bones") The alternate working title probably was MAN FOOLISHLY RUNNING FROM FATE or perhaps IMPROBABLE SPEECHES IN A CHARMING ENVIRONMENT. It dosn't really matter since it's a cute movie with cute people which made approximately $150 million. It's also not THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD which mercifully I managed to avoid seeing. My point being, this is a movie my sister dosn't mind her kids seeing. My oldest neice even has perfected her Kevin James dance, from that supremely lame/cute moment made famous from the preview. Mr. James is pretty great. I liked him a lot. Will Smith reaffirms his place as This Generation's Bill Cosby and there's some decent music and pretty clothing.
So, with all this cuteness and charm, why am I likening it to a made-for-television Lifetime special? It could be that I very much doubt that the lead columnist of a gossip tabloid's editor boss cares about everyone's mental and emotional well being. It could be the way everything suddenly ended up happy for no reason at all. It could be all the speechmaking or the way everyone assumed men are pigs and women are unwilling unwitting victims of bad relationships. Or it could just have been that everyone had these huge goregous apartments in NYC which would have cost at least half a million and I'm bitterly jealous. Also, I had a problem with everyone getting upset about this coaching Hitch did. I personally have "coached" at least two friends during their courtship processes. Guys do a lot better if they've got someone around to back them up and help figure stuff out. Actually, everyone functions better with backup but guys somehow tend to avoid asking their buddies for help since it's not manly or whatever. What's interesting (and sad) is how believeable it is that some guys would be willing to pay for such coaching. It's also interesting that the whole movie is based on the premise that you can't just walk up to someone and say "I like you. Let's go out" because no one can deal with that kind of honesty.
Oh well. It's a cute movie anyway. Just ignore some of the sillier speeches, enjoy the sight of Mr. Smith sipping Benadryl out of the bottle with a straw, and look into finding the Speed Dating group in your area.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
It failed to hold the attention of my 5 year old nephew. It also failed to hold my attention. What does this mean? Do I only have a 45 second attention span? Would I rather be outside playing or teaching my stuffed monkey to play basketball?
Well, obviously the answer is "yes" to all of those questions but that dosn't mean this movie is any good. Go see WALLACE & GROMMIT instead.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
PLEASE NOTE: THIS FILM WAS REVIEWD BY T G BARBIE. NAUDY DID NOT SEE THIS FILM. (NAUDY WILL NOT SEE THIS MOVIE UNLESS SOMEONE CHAINS HER TO A CHAIR AND FORCES HER TO WATCH IT OR SHE'S BORED AND THERE'S NOTHING ELSE PLAYING AT THE DOLLAR MOVIES AT 11PM ON A TUESDAY.)
Visually, it was dark.
Not the brooding, troubled hero darkness of BATMAN: THE BEGINING dark, not Film Noir dark, not the evil "I gotta go to church now" dark, not the delightful yet crazy and twisted Tim Burton dark, or even a touch of the classic Mafia movie "can’t rise above my station-my life sucks-let’s kill everyone in retaliation because I’m going to Hell anyway" dark; but dark as in the really annoying gray, grainy, "is this a bootleg copy-or did I just get cataracts?" dark.
At first, I thought it was the projector bulb, but the previews were really bright (and for a $9.50 movie, they better have a new bulb in the projector!), so it had to be just this copy of the movie. I thought maybe the director was doing the creative ‘rising out of darkness and obscurity and going into the light" symbolism parallel to the storyline, the whole ‘let’s tell the story with the lighting’ thing, but Nope to that too.
Now for the actual movie, the first ¾’s of the movie was very cliché. The actors did the best they could with the script. I’ve seen better mobsters on the Disney Channel. But after the main character has his predictable change of heart, it’s actually a pretty funny movie. I especially liked the scene where they strong arm a little kid, and the tribute to the Godfather’s "Leave the gun, take the Cannolli." If you happen to just walk in and catch the last little bit, you wouldn’t miss a thing. Overall, if you have to see this, wait to see this at a ward function, or the $2 theater.