Death at a Funeral (2007) — Comedy (8/10)

February 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm (Movies) (, , )


So, listen. This movie is a British comedy starring this man:

Yeah, that’s Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice! He is the mopey, underappreciated and less-talented brother who got stuck with putting together the funeral for his father. There is a whole slew of characters represented here (don’t forget your gay dwarves!), including Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball… and he was in the TV show Firefly. One of the characters is the really dorky I-want-sex-with-American-girls from the film Love Actually.

Anyway, Death at a Funeral is a really funny British movie. There is a lot irony and laughter over hallucinogens. One character spends a good third of the film completely naked and confused. There is no place for respect and courtesy in this film–it all gets a stab here and there.

The performances are good, but the script sometimes just meanders out of control as things just fall apart. I’m sure that most people won’t mind this at all, but it just kind of exploded into chaos. No worries, though, there are plenty of hearty laughs all along.

And Mr. Darcy is just so darn cute.



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The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) — Horror (8/10)

January 12, 2009 at 5:22 am (Movies) (, , )


The Poughkeepsie Tapes is an independent film in the vein of The Blair Witch Project and The Last Broadcast (both faux documentaries). I think all three are effective in their own right, but it depends on what you’re looking for as to what you will get.

This horror/thriller/fake_documentary is about a serial killer from Poughkeepsie, NY (which is a real place). The police storm chase this very smart serial killer, but never manage to catch him. One day, they find out where his house is, so they storm the place. They find an abandoned house, a living girl who had been captured for 8 years and a closet full of 800 tapes containing over 2,400 hours of footage of what he did to his victims.

He dresses up and wears a Revelation-esque bird mask, and it is very disturbing. He does things, and he has to film it all. There are many small details in the film that make this film very, very disturbing. It isn’t always acted out well, but the prevailing idea is truly terrifying. I encourage anybody who wants some shocking moments to watch this film. Watch the following clip:



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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) — Drama (7/10)

January 7, 2009 at 12:17 am (Movies) (, , )


Well, this is a mediocre film.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead details the events of two brothers who are in desperate need for money, one for child support and another for drugs (along with other smaller odds and ends). To get money, the older brother (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets the younger brother (played by Ethan Hawke) to be a part of a jewelry store robbery, and it turns out they’re going to rip off their parent’s jewelry store.

Because of the desperation, the robbery occurs, and everything goes wrong.

The movie has this time-hopping thing where you get to see what each character goes through prior to the robbery itself. This plot device doesn’t really aid the film, and all the “moral messages” are without any kind of impact. You can see it coming when Philip Seymour Hoffman breaks down in front of his father because he just “didn’t fit in” with the rest of the family.

I was more interested in the drama with the dead guy, the dead guy’s wife and the dead guy’s wife’s brother. I thought that brother guy was intimidating. Anyway, I’d say there were some very good performances in this movie. Ethan Hawke played a pansy, but Philip Seymour Hoffman was a man on a mission. The Dad, played by Alfred Finney did a great job. He’s the main guy who tells all the tall tales from Big Fish.

Anyway, this is a well-played film without a hint of heart in it. I had absolutely no emotional connection to this movie. The conclusion didn’t mean a thing to me, and the events felt thin and hollow. I think it’s safe to say this is not Sidney Lumet’s Mystic River or Million Dollar Baby as far as old-guys-who-are-legends-who-still-make-movies go.

It’s not particularly slow or difficult to watch, but there’s a very awkward sex scene between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei (who gets more and more lovely as she gets older!?) at the VERY beginning of the movie.


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Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) — Documentary (10/10)

January 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Movies) (, , )


This film is a pretty big deal. It won the best feature-length documentary award at the Oscars last year. As I said before and I will say it again here:

this film will break your heart.

This is a movie about the treatment of POWs and suspected terrorists at camps such as Bagrahm, Abu Ghraib and Guantamo Bay. Have you seen some of those photos released that demonstrate the inhumane violence and atrocities that have gone on there? You haven’t seen anything, trust me. The things that the AMERICAN soldiers did were morally reprehensible. Some of these people, I’m sure, should be put to death for what they have done–it really is that bad.

I understand the necessity to be rough on these people, but when Guantanamo Bay is up to having 35 HOMICIDES because you won’t stop beating a person every day, then I think something should change. When the government strips a person of all their rights and holds them indefinently, well, then we’re heading for a truly depraved condition.

This film makes America look very pathetic. I feel bad for being an American and being associated with any of this.

The film focuses on the death of a man who turned out to be innocent… and then the story just explodes from there. The documentary is all over the place because there is so much to cover. The film makes Dick Cheney and Colin Powell look like war criminals, and it makes George Bush look really ignorant and out-of-the-loop, quite frankly. I can tell that something truly evil has transpired these few years, and sadly almost no one knows or let alone cares about these things that are happening.

I wouldn’t even know what to do? I wish I did.

See this movie, if you are brave. See this documentary when you want to despair and get angry. I give this documentary such a high rating because it moved me emotionally, and that’s generally the criteria for what is a “perfect” film for me. It has to be well-done and moving. This movie does that and then some.


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Paranoid Park (2007) — Drama (7/10)

January 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm (Movies) (, , )


Have you ever seen a film by Gust Van Sant? Have you seen Elephant, Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester, or Last Days? Those are some pretty good films (mostly), and I think this guy has a great sense of direction.

This film, in my opinion, is mostly dull and average. What is it about films about kids that cover up tragic accidents? I’ve seen a whole slew of films based on that premise. Oh, and there’s a lot of skateboarding, which I suppose is supposed to be poetic… but I don’t think it is?

This film is “artistic”. It is pretty much an “art house” film, if you know what I mean. The storyline doesn’t intrigue me, but the style in which the main character behaves is the most interesting part. There are little subplots that don’t really interest me, and the film leads up to one conclusion that doesn’t sit well with me. Ever heard of the book Crime and Punishment? Everybody ends up feeling guilty.

I do suggest this film for people to see; however, I think Elephant and Last Days are much more interesting.


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