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.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
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.
Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is a privileged fifteen-year-old Beverly Hills high school girl obsessed with the desire of becoming an actress and very misanthropic tendencies. After being dumped by her boyfriend, her supposed best friend Brittany (Elizabeth Harnois) has no problems dating him. Masking her unhealthy jealousy Kimberly puts a brave face on things, almost deluding herself that she in fact does not care.
One morning Kimberly notices Randa (Adi Schnall) a new student coming to Roxbury all the way from some Arab country. Kimberly easily manipulates Randa into liking her, taking her under her wing, but of course it is all part of an obscure evil plan involving racism, accusations of sexual harassment and sleeping with a horny lesbian journalist. Will Kimberly’s genius plot work out for her in the end? Or will she just feel more empty and alone? It’s fair to speculate. Continue reading