Thursday, July 22, 2010

35 Rhums [2007]

Today was supposed to be the day earmarked for Inception – but you know how life goes – still haven’t seen it yet despite really wanting to... Instead I watched another fine film in the morning and felt that it deserved some love.

35 Rhums (or 35 Shots of Rum) is a beautiful slice of life kind of film – and it’s really hard to say what it’s exactly about – it’s just a fragment of the lives of a father and daughter. I guess you could say it’s about the father seeing his life through the eyes of a friend who’s retiring – and deciding it’s time to do a bit of living – and encourage his college age daughter to do the same.

It’s incredibly well acted and directed – though I felt as though it wandered a bit in the middle – and I was afraid that I was going to be on the verge of losing interest – but it held my attention. It’s a bittersweet kind of film – those kind of sensibilities are much appreciated by this movie watcher. Some of the best and most beautiful things in life come with a lot of sorrow – and in 35 Rhums – there’s the sorrow of the separating of the father and daughter – and in the characters around the two – but ultimately it ends up feeling right.

Giving this one a perfect score (5 out of 5) because it deserves it.

[directed by Claire Denis]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Top 5 Worst Movie Roommates

Due to my recent move and the fact that getting a nice place isn't cheap - I considered having a roommate - but decided against it in the same breath. So, considering my reaction to just the thought - I figured I should decide my nightmare roommate from the movies... The obvious serial killers and demons left out - just because you would probably not even have much of a chance making it through the tour of the place before they hack you up. (As well as my nightmare of being trapped in a room with a moose - so moose is excluded...)

#5. Dignan (Bottle Rocket) - Mostly harmless - but the wild imagination of Dignan will probably get you in trouble with the law - plus he'll have your next 50-years planned out in advance for you - which can be a bit of a hassle.

#4. Bill and/or Ted (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey) – They’d probably insist on sharing a bedroom with you – which should be enough – but they are loud and messy and talk like imbeciles (probably because they are).

#3. Eli (Let the Right One In) – Sure she’s got plenty of money to cover rent – but you’ll have to kill people so she can eat – and if you refuse – she’ll guilt you into it.

#2. Gollum (Lord of the Rings) – He doesn’t like your friends coming around, he’ll will eat all your raw meat, he’d keep you up all night talking to himself and the guy is super paranoid – he’s constantly thinking you’ll take his stuff.

#1. Chewbacca (Star Wars) – Trust me, George Lucas has created enough characters that I wouldn’t want to spend 15 minutes with – but share a living space? Well, no one beats Chewbacca. He’ll shed all over everything, probably smells like a wet dog all the time, you can’t carry on any type of conversation with him without him growling (because that’s all he does), he’s got industrial strength space fleas that hide in that walking carpet – and if you ask him to clean up after himself or pay his half of the utilities - he might tear your arms out of their sockets. Though he might know how to fix the air conditioner...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sherlock Holmes [2009]

Something “magic” happens – and Holmes and Watson investigate.

I’m not sure what I was expecting – but I guess I’ve seen much worse films. I wouldn’t really say it was bad – just boring. Slow motion explosions and fist fights are fine if you are into that – but blah blah blah... Who cares?

The acting was fine – nothing to write home about. Robert Downey Jr. was good – so was Jude Law – and the guy who was the bad guy was good and that one vague chick was kind of stiff and boring – but whatever – didn’t feel the chemistry and didn’t care.

Why do we need to acknowledge the awkward homosexual relationships when you’ve got two guys working together in movies these days? Why? The reason why movies like Top Gun, Pointe Break and Tango & Cash are remembered for it is because it’s apparent but never acknowledged – these days it’s “funny” to make a self referential joke about it... Ha ha ha... Fuck you... It’s now a cliché – move on people.

Has any director ever fallen so hard as Guy Ritchie (I guess other than M. Night Shamylamydingdong)? He was considered a promising new director with Lock Stock and Snatch – but really hasn’t figured out how to stop being such a douche to direct something worthwhile or at least with the promise of his first two films (I’m on the fence with RocknRolla – think it’s kind of boring).

It’s not horrible – but it’s not good – it’s a fine way to kill time I guess – but you might as well watch infomercials or drink... Summer Shandy is out in the Midwest – you should check your liquor stores to see if they carry it – which they probably won’t but it’s fucking nice. Delicious. Refreshing.

Low end 3 out of 5 for this one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pirate Radio [2009]

In the 1960’s the national British broadcasting did not feature more than an hour of rock/pop music – so to give into the thirst for them ships would broadcast from out in sea in order to give the people 24/7 rock ‘n’ roll!

I quite liked this film – but look at the synopsis that I chose to use... The film is only a little about this – it’s mostly about the unique DJ’s and a kid who was sent off to the boat by his mother – and it became about the kid getting laid. The DJ’s were all played by hilarious actors – and their antics were quite fun – but the film fails simply because the filmmakers decided that the antics were what was going to carry the film.

It’s a slapstick kind of comedy with broad humor – so it makes sense not for this film to be bogged down in the drama of the struggle to keep Pirate Radio alive. This leads to a lot of what felt like filler scenes – where things happened just for the characters have reason to do wacky shit. The film almost felt like a sketch show or a few episodes of a television show – linked together with music montages of people dancing around to The Kinks or The Rolling Stones or The Hollies.
There was some very disconnected scenes with Government officials trying to find ways to shut down the boats. I liked how they were disconnected scenes – kind of speaking to the fact that the government doesn’t know what it’s talking about – and how they are disconnected from what the people want – but since they were disconnected from the main characters – the scenes felt tacked on to the film.

Anyway – the music was great – there was the whole romanticized rock ‘n’ roll used to mean something and hold us close together as a people feeling (and in the end credits they flashed up album covers from later decades as to show that rock ‘n’ roll never died – we could debate the effectiveness of this notion for days).

Anyway – the actors Bill Nighy as the patriarch of the boat was spot on as he usually is these days – he’s been a revelation as an actor – where has he been? Nick Frost as Doctor Dave was in a way that I haven’t seen him before – which is refreshing – he could pull off smooth and funny as apposed to kind of oafish and funny. Chris O’Dowd was great as Simple Simon – you really wanted to pull for him. Rhys Darby could’ve been used a bit more – but I’m glad he got a solid role in this film. Rhys Ifans was good – but not in my mind the most interesting as the wild Gavin. Kenneth Branagh as spot on as the official in charge of shutting down the Pirate Radio stations – but his story was left a bit incomplete – you needed that one scene of him tapping his foot to make the story feel completed.

Which leaves Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a role that seems like the logical extension to his Lester Bangs role in Almost Famous – he can pull the rock ‘n’ roll nut off with such ease. He’s got a lot of depth as an actor and pulls from every which way I wonder if it’s his natural place in the world to be such a rock fan or if it’s just his acting ability that makes it so believable. No doubt in my mind if I want to make a movie about rock ‘n’ roll – I want to call Hoffman first.

Overall – I quite liked the film – though I felt it was thin on plot when it didn’t need to be. The antics were enough to keep me entertained in one viewing – not sure if they’d be enough for a second. The music was solid – though they could’ve pulled from the Nuggets archive for some under utilized rock ‘n’ roll than rolling out a couple of the standards. The montages became a bit much for me at times – but it was fun – and I’m giving Pirate Radio 4 out of 5.

[directed by Rob Curtis]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When plans one through eight fail - there's always...

"This film we once saw was reviled for its flaws - but its flaws are what made us have fun"

lyrics from 'Singer/Songwriter' by Okkervil River