Tagged: Film Review

Bad: Girl Most Likely (2012), Sound of the Sea (2001) and Adventure in the Sin Bin (2012)

Three bad movies in a week. That has to be some kind of an achievement. Not one that I’m proud of that’s for sure, but just wait till we get to the good part. Never give up hope. Never!

Girl Most Likely (2012) – 4.5 (IMDb 5.6) – Comedy (USA)
I like Kristen Wiig, I think she’s really funny and a likable. She’s a good actress and she has done some good movies, like Bridesmaids. The fact that Girl Most Likely doesn’t work however is definitely not her fault or any of the other fantastic actors in this film like Matt Dillon, who seems to be the only one who’s allowed to be funny here. The film’s problem lies in the script aka the bad writing. Kristen Wiig’s character is not very sympathetic and doesn’t seem to care about anyone. As a consequence it’s hard to relate to her or hope that she succeeds. The direction is uninspired. Visually there’s not much going on. Most of the things that happen are completely preposterous or unrealistic. Continue reading

Meh: Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Despicable Me 2 (2013) – 5.5 (IMDb 7.5) – Animation, Family, Comedy (USA)

After being positively surprised by the first film, I was somewhat looking forward to a sequel of Despicable Me. Like most people I thought the first film was very original, beautifully animated and pretty funny. And I don’t even like animated or family films. Being a bit pretentious and cynical as a film-goer I think they are mostly silly and childish, which actually makes sense since they’re targeting children. However I can’t really judge the film as a kid, because I’m not a kid anymore. For what it’s worth though, my little sister really enjoyed this film, so I guess the film achieved its goal. Continue reading

Bad: The Canyons (2013)

The Canyons (2013) – 2 (IMDb 4.2) – Drama, Thriller (USA)
What happened to Lindsay Lohan? She was supposed to be the next big thing and now she is… Poor girl. I used to be a fan of her work and she used to look great, now look at her! Anyways, The Canyons is quite simply a train-wreck of a movie. Lindsay Lohan co-stars with porn star James Deen (haha, so clever! I know right?) in what is one of the worst thrillers I’ve ever seen. To give you an idea: I loved I Know Who Killed Me and still defend it, so I can appreciate a good genre film. Everything about The Canyons however is bad, like bad soap opera bad. The only good thing about this film, sorry to be so vulgar: Tenille Houston’s glorious tits. Other than that there’s Gus Van Sant in the shortest of cameos and of course the beautiful scenery where the film takes place. This is an irredeemable film and I hope nobody sees it, for their own good.

That’s the only bad film of the week, luckily. If you watched a bad film and want to warn everyone about it: Please do. If not: I’m happy for you.

Meh: Jobs (2013)

Jobs (2013) – 6 (IMDb 5.5) – Biography, Drama (USA)
Not sure if I’m competent enough to discuss Steve Jobs as a real person, because I don’t know too much about him, but I can tell you what I thought of him in this biographical film. He’s a dick, a total douche bag you’ll have a hard time sympathizing with. Again, I’m talking about the characterization in the film, not the real Steve Jobs founder of Apple Computers. This film seemed to be trying hard to appeal to The Social Network crowd, portraying Jobs in a similar way. The only difference is that this director was working with a lousy screenplay, but he tried to make the most of it. How? By exaggerating every little scene, turning everything into an over-emotional mess. While the actors are all fine and doing their best the bad dialogue they are forced to recite turns everything into a cringe worthy, run of the mill biopic. While the film certainly nails every stylistic and aesthetic detail, aside from a very standard, boring cinematography, the filmmakers try to pack too much story into a two-hour film. Overall a fairly forgettable, flat and rather un-inventive.

So that was my meh movie of the week. What ‘meh’ movie(s) did you watch last week?

Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003)

Dogville Photo:  Framegrab
Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a beautiful young woman on the run. In her escape from the mob, she arrives in a rural small town somewhere in America. Dogville is a quiet place isolated from the rest of the world. Its residents are simple people who like to keep to themselves and see her arrival with some skepticism. Fortunately for Grace, Tom (Paul Bettany) a young philosopher is willing to help her. His generosity is not completely selfless: He is trying to prove his people a point. Tom wants to teach the town’s people that if they are able to accept a stranger they will only be better off for it. At first reluctant to engage with Grace, the people soon start benefiting from her presence. She offers her services to everyone in town and so after a two week trial period they decide that she can stay. On the fourth of July however, the police issues a fake warrant for her arrest. The people of Dogville know she is innocent, but nevertheless they begin to treat her like she owes them more. Grace is abused, she tries to escape, but fails and is abused once more until Tom has had enough and decides to call the mob. It all ends in an epic climax you’d have to see to believe.  Continue reading

Kim Ki-duk’s 3-Iron (2004)

3-Iron (2004)
Tae-suk (Jae Hee) is a lonely biker breaking and entering other people’s houses. He is not a thief: He just lives in their homes and when it’s time to move on, he does. That usually means the owners are back or the place just got old. So whenever that happens he just looks for a new apartment. One day however he decides to crash at a place where one of the inhabitants is still there, only he doesn’t notice her. Sun-hwa (Lee Seung-yeon) is an equally lonely, but lovely, housewife living in a luxurious house with an abusive husband (Kwon Hyuk-ho). Sun-hwa is intrigued when she notices that Tae-suk isn’t there to rob her. She decides to join him in his adventurous lifestyle. What could possibly go wrong? I don’t know, but according to some guy’s law “Anything that can go wrong usually goes wrong”.  Continue reading

What Movies Did You Watch Last Week?

Welcome back!

Hi, ola, buenos días and buongiorno.

It’s been two weeks this time, but I managed to watch a couple of movies this past week. I mostly sat down with my two brothers, so there wasn’t much room for art house cinema or brand new releases. Luckily, I didn’t catch any ‘bad’ movies this week. Sadly, nothing new really stuck out either, so as my ‘Pick of the Week’ I’ll recommend a film I re-watched. Normally I’d recommend a ‘first time viewing’ over something I’ve already seen, even if I prefer the latter over the former, but I only want to label top quality filmmaking as my ‘Pick of the Week’ so this week there’s an exception. Also, I’ve originally seen this film in 2010, so it’s been a while and after three years you can really change your mind about a film. Didn’t happen to me for this film. Now without further ado, let’s see what I watched and if you want tell me what you watched.

Evil Dead (2013) – 7 (IMDb 6.9) – Horror Remake (USA)

The Beautiful Prisoner (1983) – 6.5 (IMDb 6.3) – Drama, Fantasy, Mystery (France)
La belle captive is written and directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet, whose work I’m not familiar with except for the great Criterion classic Last Year at Marienbad (1961) which he only wrote. Thinking about it, that makes perfect sense, because this film has similar surreal tones and dream-like narration. As much as I wanted to like this film for its beautiful, nostalgic aesthetic I feel that the story is too confusing and unengaging. The main character is not well-defined in my opinion so it’s hard to sympathize for him. What I did like was that it felt a bit like a David Lynch film at time, or a groovy 80s rock ‘n’ roll video clip that MTV would show (you know when they still cared about music). Overall a bit disappointing, but still worth renting or casually watch on a hot summer night, like I did.

Pretty Persuasion (2005) – 8.5 (IMDb 6.5) – Comedy, Drama (USA)

From Russia with Love (1963) – 6 (IMDb 7.5) – Action, Adventure, Crime (UK)
I’m clearly no James Bond guy, I know maybe I should care, but I don’t. Maybe I shouldn’t even write about this film, but I thought this second entry in the franchise was a mostly bland and quite boring. I had a hard time focussing on this plot-driven, bordering sexist film. Aside from technical merits and a couple unintentionally funny moments there’s really not much to look forward to in this one. There’s little action, for an action film, the story is uninteresting and the characters are poorly developed. Oh, and the romance elements feel forced and inauthentic. In fact I’m surprised I’m still rating this as high as I do.

Repo Man (1984) – 6.5 (IMDb 6.8) – Comedy, Crime, Sci-Fi (USA)
I primarily checked this film out because it was recently released by Criterion and I have a lot of faith in those guys. However I’m not big on this kind of films, so my judgment here is not worth much. I thought it was funny at times, repetitive throughout, but still somehow interesting to watch. I’m fascinated by the idea of alien life somewhere in this universe, so I hoped they would explore that aspect of the story more, but it really only serves as a plot device and is touched upon at the beginning and the end of the film. Solid acting, fun soundtrack, but overall a bit underwhelming.

Ordinary People (1980) – 7 (IMDb 7.8) – Drama (USA)
Robert Redford’s directorial début and oscar-winning picture (over Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull) is a good drama about an unhappy family living in the American suburbs. As I’ve said I’m a sucker for anything with a suburban setting, so it was a given I’d at least enjoy that aspect of the film. Ordinary People deals with issues of depression, guilt and family. It feels mostly earnest in its depiction of those problems, taking its sweet time to make a point, however some situation and sentences are clearly “cinematic” in the sense that they have little to do with real-life. I was a bit bothered by the psychiatrist guy, which was such an obvious cliché, but other than that: I’d re-watch this film over something like Silver Linings Playbook any day of the week.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) – 6.5 (IMDb 7.4) – Comedy, Drama (USA)
As you can see this week was heavy on American cinema. I wanted to see Lars and the Real Girl for quite a while since I had heard a lot of good things about it and it features some of my favorite Hollywood actors. I was a bit disappointed by it, when I watched it last night, namely because it feels like a missed opportunity. You have this great concept of a guy (Ryan Gosling) buying a blow-up doll and treating her as if she was his girlfriend, but they don’t do much with it. The film spins its wheels, recycles jokes and ultimately hasn’t much to say. Not that it should, but it’s a bit banal and preachy with the main points it’s trying to make. I don’t know I think aside from some great acting you’re better off watching something like Air Doll (2009) or even Cyborg Girl (2008). The Japanese really know their shit when it comes to lonely guys looking for girlfriend surrogates.

Paris-Manhattan (2012) – 6 (IMDb 6) – Comedy, Romance (France)
And finally I watched this French comedy Paris-Manhattan. As a mega-fan of Woody Allen it felt like a must! He does voice work and has a cameo in this. The film is about a woman imagining to have conversation with her Woody Allen Poster. Sounds like a great concept right? Unfortunately, this woman is also super-annoying. Now some might have to do with culture, I still have to get used to French humor and quirks and stuff, but I feel that I’ve seen enough cinema to say that not all characters are like that. To the film’s credit: It has a lot of love for Woody Allen’s work, there’s a Lost in Translation reference and some good jokes (mostly from Woody being himself). However by the end of the film it almost feels like the filmmaker is saying “Yeah, Woody.. Whatever.” and even if it tries to imitate Allen’s films down to every last detail, it ultimately it fails. Why? Simply because nobody is Woody Allen, except for Woody Allen and nobody does Woody Allen like Woody Allen. Sophie Lellouche: You’re no Woody Allen, not even close. Try to make your own film. By the way: I give this film a 6 out of 10 only because I have a hard time rating anything that Woody is attached to lower than that.

Gregg Araki’s Kaboom (2010)

Smith (Thomas Dekker) is an 18-year old university student majoring in film studies that is having both weird and wet dreams, right before his 19th birthday. After a series of hook-ups and seemingly random sexual encounters, shit is really starting to get crazy: Men in animal masks appear, a creepy girl with superpowers and a voodoo doll and of course all kinds of kinky sex. After a couple of days of confusion and meaningless sex, Smith however starts to realize what’s going on, but is he in time to save the world from its impending doom and an evil cult leader determined blow it up?  Continue reading