Eegah (1962) — Drama/MST3K (7/10)

February 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm (Movies) (, , , )

eegah

I pray and hope that you’ve never seen the movie Eegah without having seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this film. It is the story of a prehistoric caveman that happens to live off a cave off the main highway of some American town (that’s a great plot for a movie in 1962). There’s a kid who’s the “hunk” of the film, but really his face makes you want to throw up. I think they said his face was like a Cabbage Patch Kid version of Elvis… haha!

As far as MST3K episodes go, this one isn’t as funny as Prince of Space, Manos: The Hands of Fate or Hercules Against the Moon Men. I’d stick with those if I were you.

The prehistoric man is played by the guy who played the character Jaws from a couple of the James Bond films. He’s an absolute giant, and his face is terrifying.

7/10

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Doubt (2008) — Drama (10/10)

February 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Movies) (, , )

doubt-poster

I am so glad that I randomly decided to go see the film Doubt at 4:10pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

The night before, I saw Milk with Michael, and today I saw Doubt with my roommate Blake. It is really strange of me to say, but I felt tense during Doubt like I felt tense during The Descent, a British human-vampiresque horror film from 2006. Now what possibly could a drama about child molestation in a Catholic school have to do with a vampire horror film? I don’t really have an answer for you, but I felt tense and my fists were clenched for a better part of both films.

Bravo, Meryl Streep, you truly are an evil woman. I’ve met and seen women like the one she potrays in this film, but it still unnerved me. She tells Philip Seymour Hoffman that she will stop at nothing to see him removed from the school. She has no proof of her accusations, only “certainty”.

The movie tells a lot about the human condition, and the themes of manipulation, hate and degradation are rich and developed here. The ending pulls all of the different themes together quite nicely.

Some people said that they felt this film would go through “the occation narrative lull”, and I can see what they’re saying, but I must say that if you distrust and are aware the evil human condition as I have come to be, then this film will probably fascinate you.

Forgiveness, man. It doesn’t come for everybody. Oh! I watched this documentary about a year ago called Deliver Us From Evil, about a Catholic priest who molested hundreds of children over a period of a few decades. Watching that prior to seeing Doubt perhaps is an interesting setup for this film. Seeing the former will make you angry. I’m off subject, but I recommend this film highly. I love deception, evil and the human condition. I like to see how far people are willing to go to ruin everything around them. Tremendous acting, a terrific script and great directing all make this a top notch film.

10/10

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Milk (2008) — Drama (9/10)

February 7, 2009 at 12:10 am (Movies) (, , , )

milk

Uh oh, I went and saw a movie about that gay pervert from California, right? As long as all the queers keep to themselves over there, right? Far from that. I really, really enjoyed this film! I saw it with my friend Michael on a Tuesday night, when only couples dared show their faces at a movie theater on a Tuesday night.

The movie is very poetic and moving. I am of the opinion that no people group should be discriminated, hated, barred from society, criticized openly simply for being different from you. If the Christians became persecuted and murdered in America, would you not want the same treatment as what has been desired by the Gay Rights and Civil Rights Movements? I myself do not condone, participate in or enjoy the idea and action of gay people, but nowhere in that sentence does that say I judge, hate, mistreat, slander or riot against this group of people. I love people, and that includes gays and everybody else.

My problem is that I’m not so accepting of ignorant, stupid, ghetto and cruel people.

Anyway, I’m way off topic now. The film has a great texture to it, and it behaves so gently toward the gay people. I don’t think the gay people were all that smart back in the 70s, because a lot of them thought that being 100% ridiculous and counter culture meant that they could surive, thrive and get everything they felt they deserved. Big issues like this don’t change overnight, so you’ve got to consider a little tact and moderation.

Still, the movie is poetic, sweet and (mostly) slow by my standards. I enjoyed the 70s grainy look of the film and the interweaving of stock footage from that time. There’s some “gay stuff” as you would expect, but I didn’t get all crazy over it. Michael covered his eyes, but mainly it was just kissing and a slap on the naked butt.

It is also a thought-provoking film about Gay Rights and the like. I recommend the film quite highly.

9/10

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Gran Torino (2008) — Drama (9/10)

January 14, 2009 at 4:11 am (Movies) (, , )

gran_torino

Gran Torino is an American film, *expletive*! Clint Eastwood plays Walt, a truly American son-of-a-gun. It’s interesting how the trailer doesn’t really provide a detailed look of the plot. Mainly there’s just a lot of Clint Eastwood pointing guns at Asians. Believe me, there is a ton of that.

There are some really powerful and effective scenes in this movie, and there’s a little Asian boy “Toad” that doesn’t act very well most of the time. Despite that flaw, it’s a really great performance by Cilnt Eastwood and all the other little Asians… the Hmong people.

This is a very unintentionally funny film, and that is a good thing. Clint Eastwood spouts off constantly about shooting Chinese in Korea (name that movie, anyone?) and can’t stand the Asian neighbors all in “his” neighborhood–he’s been there for decades. He illicits dozens of racial slurs (gooks, fish heads, dragon lady, swamp rats, etc) and calls all of them some other name than what they really have–“yum yum”, “toad”, etc.

I recommend this film for a hearty set of laughs, and the film is very easy to watch. Unlike The Wrestler, which certainly is a good film, Gran Torino establishes a certain set of characters that you really want to care about. I did care about Mickey Rourke as the wrestler, but the film was built on his performance, and I don’t feel like everything else amplified the good things that were already there. So, Gran Torino is the better film, and I recommend it to all (if you can stand a lot of swearing Asians).

Best line:

“You ever run into someone you wish you hand’t ****ed with? I’m that guy.”

9/10

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The Wrestler (2008) — Drama (8/10)

January 12, 2009 at 5:46 am (Movies) (, , )

wrestler
This a solid film, but I wouldn’t say that it’s great. There’s a way that the independent wrestling circuit is portrayed that does make that whole “thing” much more interesting and humorous than it actually plays out on screen. I couldn’t get over how nice the guys were and how nonchalant they were about planning their moves for each upcoming match. Did they plan who would win?

I say that I liked The Wrestler because it’s solid, touching, sentimental and moderately realistic… but what makes the film worthwhile is the performance by Mickey Rourke. After seeing him in Sin City, I knew I would be a big fan of his. It’s funny to hear about how he was in the Hollywood eye in the 80’s, but his falling out left him with a broken life. Then, he is now making his comeback. This all parallels the experience of Randy “The Ram” in this film–they are multiple parallels that make this film hit close to home for Mickey, I’m sure.

Evan Rachel Wood only had a bit part, but I thought she was nice. She is SO pale, and I like that quality about her.

I think this movie unfairly portrays that you get second chances. Take it from me, because I have learned it the hard way, you don’t always get multiple chances. All because you pour your heart out doesn’t mean a past love returns to you, and it doesn’t mean you can easily find a new love. In this movie, Mickey Rourke has the opportunity to patch everything together, but he fudges it up and makes a mess of his life (again).

Word to the wise: don’t make mistakes. Or, atleast don’t make the kinds that you will regret forever. Life is entirely too long to regret so much, and this movie really broke me on that point. Whenever his daughter just returns to him after years of abandonment on his SECOND try to win her back… it made me cry because I could only wish that life was like that.

I heard Mickey Rourke won Best Actor at the Golden Globes. That makes me quite happy.

8/10

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Elephant (2003) — Drama (9/10)

January 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm (Movies) (, , )

elephant

Thank God for good films. It seems that mostly I watch what end up being “average” or “solid” films, but not as many hit me emotionally or really make me think about life. Films like: Adaptation., One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, After the Wedding, The Triplets of Belleville, Watership Down, Alien, American Beauty and Ratatouille have all had profound effects on me. To a lesser degree, I’d say this film, Elephant, has had an important impact on my life.

I am a sucker for movies about the high school experience. This movie provides an almost voyeuristic quality to what things ‘might’ have been like on the day of the shooting at Columbine high school. Really, there are so many layers, and you see just what type of person you might think yourself to be. Were you the geeky girl that ran from everybody? Were you the blonde-headed guy that managed to get outside before the shooting began? Would you be the hero? Would you run for dear life?

There are SO many interesting and high points of this film, and it asks a lot of questions. I think it really shows bullying to be distasteful, but it’s chilling at how cold and calculated these murder were (in the film). I must confess that I don’t know a lot of the backdrop of the actual events, but if they are anything like this movie, then it really is disturbing to see how meticulous and heartless these two guys really were.

I would encourage you to watch this movie by yourself. If not, watch it with just a few people, and certainly don’t talk during this movie (and try not to fall asleep, too!). This film is haunting and beautiful, and this film is definitely slow. Don’t think that anything here will keep your attention for you, so I think you’ll have to pay attention on your own this time.

There’s a scene where the camera follows this guy while the Moonlight Sonata is playing in the background. I could watch that scene for days and still find new meaning. This is a true work of art by Gus Van Sant. I want to see his now-playing film Milk, but I haven’t had the chance. It’s just too bad that Gus Van Sant makes such otherwise mediocre films (Paranoid Park, Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester, the Psycho remake…). Go see this film, please.

9/10

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) — Drama (8/10)

January 7, 2009 at 7:19 am (Movies) (, , )

bb

There is something very strange about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Something left me unnerved and rattled post-viewing.

The film is about a man-baby-thing whose mother died in childbirth. The father abandoned the child because he looked like a monster. The baby was raised by a woman who ran an old folks’ home. So, the baby looks like a dying old man, and as the “baby” grows older, his physical appearance begins to look younger and younger (leading to the obvious, inevitable conclusion).

So, the film is about quirky people, quirky situations, random lightning strikes, old age, death, fishing, romance and a very quiet performance by Brad Pitt. All in all, the film is very well done, and I give props to the design and cinematography of the film, but Brad Pitt doesn’t do anything at all. He just stares. He utters few words, and he purely reacts to things around him. He gets lucky with his life, basically.

The film is cold and unemotional. I don’t think that there’s any real reason to “enjoy” this film. There aren’t major revelations, and I can’t say I’m better for it. I wasn’t even very entertained on a shallow level. There were a few bits with lightning (7 to be exact) and those were definitely funny.

It’s just hard to like a film like that. I mean, what’s there to love? I hope it doesn’t win Best Picture at anything.

8/10

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

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

btdkyd

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.

7/10

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008) — Drama (9/10)

January 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Movies) (, , )

slumdog_millionaire

This film is a real treat. I don’t know if you know anything about the work of director Danny Boyle, but he has an exuberant and hyper-realistic directing style. He did films such as: Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting and The Beach (the heck!?). Anyway, he has weird camera angles, lots of running, and I would describe his films as “visceral” and a “jolt of energy”.

It’s interesting combining the slums of Mumbai, India with elements of this fast-paced editing. The opening running scene of this film is very interesting and powerful, showing the sheer magnitude of the slums in the city.

The story is about Jamal, a boy from the slums is on the Indian equivalent of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and who is just one question away from winning 20,000,000 rupees (Zelda, anyone?). The premise seems cheap at the get-go, but the story quickly matures and turns into an interesting account of growing up in a time of great difficulty.

Basically, everyone steals and you never get what you want… until maybe the end. I cannot imagine growing up in those circumstances, but millions of kids are forced into that lifestyle, God rest their souls.

In the movie, Jamal, just one question from winning, is accused of cheating because there is no way this uneducated boy would know all these answers. Jamal explains his story to the police chief, question by question, of how he knew the answers. For example, he knew that Benjamin Franklin was on the front of the $100 bill because a blind boy told him the name based on the physical description of a “balding man with hair like a girl.”

There are some very sickening and exciting moments in this film, and you will be touched if you have a heart. It’s compelling and fast-paced, and I dare say that most people would at least “like” this film.

And the female lead, when she is older, is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. My word…

9/10

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Paranoid Park (2007) — Drama (7/10)

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

paranoid_park

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.

7/10

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