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Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

I forgot to mention in my last post that I’m dating someone. This is pretty important stuff to someone who is socially awkward and chronically single.

He’s nice. Funny. Very Smart. And cute to boot. So this makes me smile.
I’m in like.

It's a clever, post-post modern title, you see.

He recommended to me Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. In fact, we started to watch it one evening before it turned into a snogging session (ew, ew, tmi, right?). But I did finish watching it on my own, which is a good thing, because it was fun.

Dr. Horrible is a bad man. A very bad man. He is what you call a villain. *gasp* He’s so bad that he wants to be horrible. Yet just like in the movies, he likes a girl named Penny. And again, just like in the movies… the girl likes Dr. Horrible’s nemesis, the attractive and popular Captain Hammer.

I hesitate to reveal any more of the plot. If you can tell by the “sing-along” part of the title, it’s a musical. And musicals have happy parts and sad parts. This isn’t intellectual, deep drivel, but it does make you wonder if good is always good and if bad is always bad. Like, what makes a hero a hero? What makes a villain a villain? Is Dr. Horrible a true villain if he has romantic feelings for something other than world domination?

Neil Patrick Harris does a fine job at Dr. Horrible, but I can’t help but think of him still as Doogie Howser. He’ll always be Doogie to me, one of my first crushes (I think I was in lurve with his brains more than his looks. Go freaking figure). The best thing about this “movie” is that it’s very short–three acts that are 14 minutes long each–which makes this a quick and easy view.

Just watch it. To quote my dating partner, it’s woot. =)

Best Served With: Microwavable Pizza, frozen yogurt.

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Go ahead and laugh–I freaking love Mrs. Doubtfire. This was a movie I watched endlessly when I was unemployed–actually, I still continue to watch it.

Mrs. Doubtfire rules all

What's up, $5 bin at Walmart?

In case you’ve lived under a rock since the 1990s, Mrs. Doubtfire is family comedy from the mid 90s (don’t know the exact year, I’m guessing around 93 or 94, but I’m too lazy to search it). It stars Robin Williams, who generally annoys the hell out of me when he acts like he’s on speed. Damn cokehead. Sally Field is also in it, as well as Joey Lawrence’s one brother (WHOA!) and the little girl who plays Matilda in Matilda (hey, I’ve been watching this movie since I was like 10, and that’s who those people will always be to me).

Anyway, Robin Williams’ character and his wife separate and divorce. With limited custody with his kids, he dresses up like an elderly woman (Mrs. Doubtfire) so he can secretly be their nanny. Robin Williams as a woman? You know hijinx will ensue.

It’s a ridiculous little plotline, but people have a soft spot for movies with cross-dressing. But here’s what I remember as a kid: it was the first time, that I recall in a movie, that made divorce accessible to kids. My parents somehow (for some reason) remained married, but this was happening in the midst of marriages ending amongst my peers. My parents were talking about divorce at the time, though, and even though hearing that word was scarying, seeing the ending of this movie made me smile.

Two (ok, three) facts related to this movie:

Hellloooooooo!
Me at 9 AM: “Hellloooooooo Jennifer!”

1. I love saying “Hellllloooooooo!” a la Mrs. Doubtfire to my one coworker in the morning when I walk in the door.
2. I thought the song “Dude Looks Like a Lady” was called “Do the Soccer Lady.”
3. This movie is great background noise when you are pre-occupied with somethign else.

So if you haven’t see it, check it out… I think it’s rated PG, which makes it a nice watch for kids who are a little too grown up for animated movies, yet still want to see something lighthearted.

Best Served With: Hot dogs, mac and cheese, and ice cream… kids movie food, woot!

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I’m far from a prude… in fact, what’s the opposite of prude?  Perv?  Well, I’m not really a pervert, either.   I’m a healthy medium.

Okay, so if you really want to know, I googled to find the dirtiest Netflix movies possible.  It was just a curiosity thing.  I stumbled upon this movie, and decided to give it a whirl while I was–get this–job searching/applying.

And…  What the hell.

Here’s our plot–a suicidal woman pays a gay man to “watch” her for four nights.  And by watch, I mean she takes off her clothes and gets “in touch” with herself.  A euphemism for masturbation? You betcha.  A euphemism for some deep, pretentious self-identity analogies? Yup, that too!  I”m not sure what else I can say about this, except the dude gets jiggy with her.  And she rambles on a lot about her identity and position as a woman.

It’s not that I don’t get it, because I do.  And there is a point to this movie, but it’s hard to explain without spoiling what little of a plot there is.  I am not the type that brags, but I took more than a few feminist theory courses in college… like, way more than a few.  I’m very “I am woman, hear me roar.”  But this is just some weird, pornographic stuff.  I’m not even sure the rating, but it’s way more hardcore than the stuff you see on Skinamax or Showtime at 4 am.

And guys?  Yeah, you’ll probably get a boner.  Just fyi.

Recommended viewing setting: When nobody else is around and you’d like some “alone time.”

Recommended Viewing snacks:  Chicken breast.  Chicken thighs.  Chicken legs.  French cuisine.  Oysters and chocolate.  Ladyfingers.

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I just realized that it has been quite some time since I last posted.  Maybe this is because I was overwhelmed from switching from blogger to wordpress.  Or maybe this is because I have a.  gasp.  job.

It’s part time (but now permanent).  Retail.  I don’t like it.  It’s somehow physically laborious.  I get paid half of what I used to make.  I get demeaned by customers.  My coworkers are crazy.  Watching people spend money over ugly, unnecessary things is depressing.  I feel inept and am terrified for when I get a “real” job, because I feel like I will really suck at that.  Thank you, former employer, for my lack of occupational confidence!

But anyway, my friend (and former coworker) came over the other evening (after I was finished work.  Imagine that!) to do nothing. We played Lego Star Wars for a bit.  After a while, I asked if he would enjoy watching a movie for a bit.  He said sure, and I started to go through the Netflix listings.

I’m not much into advertising for companies, but Netflix–though you may have helped pull Blockbuster under–you, my friend, are a lifesaver.  I may have gone crazy without watching movies that are classic, obscure, and/or just plain WEIRD.

We started to watch Teeth when my friend asked if I ever saw The Human Centipede.  I said no, but was highly intrigued as he described the basic plot.  I found it available via streaming, so I asked him if he would mind if we switched.  He never saw it either, so we decided to watch that instead.

Ever see Clerks 2?  Dante says, “You never go ass to mouth!”  Well, the creators of The Human Centipede (First Sequence) decided to break that rule a bit.  What?  Confused yet?  Let me explain.

An evil doctor (a former specialist in conjoined twin separation) decides to start creating instead of separating–his first project is attaching three dogs together to make one mega dog.  But they died, so he decides to create something even awesomer–a human centipede.  But how does one do this?  Why, you kidnap foreign tourists, of course!

But you may ask, “What happens after they are kidnapped?”  Bahaha, evil doctor laugh, they are turned into the human centipede!  The surgeon

I dislike video games made from movies... but I can never hate on Atari.

explains to his three patients that he will surgically connect them in a line by placing one behind each other and attaching their butts to the person’s mouth behind them, thus forming a human centipede.  So in case this is too ambiguous, they survive by involuntarily eating the previous person’s shit.

Yup, I guess you can go ass to mouth in the heat of the moment.

There’s a whole bunch of other shit (excuse the pun) that happens in the movie, but that’s the basic premise.  Despite what you may think, there isn’t much blood and gore; in fact, I have seen more blood on tv than in this movie.  I guess it’s one of those movies that is cool because you think it’s worse than it is.  I mean, the idea is so repulsive that it sticks with you while you’re watching some scenes.  It’s a decent movie to watch, cinematographically speaking.  It doesn’t have a cheap look or feel to it, but they did a great job with whatever money they had to work with (ie. while you see the human centipede connected to each other, they do not show how they are physically surgically connected because they are strategically bandaged up).  I think I think the filmmaker knew it was a crazy, over the top idea, and it made me laugh rather than scare me (like Teeth).  While the movie relies much on the gross-out idea, I would have appreciated a bit of back story/explanation as to WHY the doctor wanted to do this, like what drove him to want to do this.  I was expecting a backstory of the doctor being a conjoined twin as a child, and his twin dying from surgery and wanting revenge.  Though when I think about that now, it may have been a little cheesy.

I often check wikipedia or imdb after I watch a movie, and I found out three interesting things:

1.  The concept for the movie was actually a joke the director Tom Six made amongst friends.  He said that sexual predators should have their mouths stitched to a truck driver’s butt as a punishment.

2.  There is a sequel that is being made/finishing up, supposedly to be released this year.  The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) will have the blood and gore that the first movie didn’t have.  Score!

3.  How do you know your movie is a success?  If there is a porn parody of it!  Insert The Human Sexipede.  Yup.

So if you are into bizarre movies, have a strong stomach to weird, gross-sounding films, or want to look incredibly pretentious for grotesque, check out The Human Centipede (First Sequence). It’s not going to scare you, but you will laugh, and as a bonus, say “Ewwwww” as you pray you never get kidnapped by an evil scientist.  But if you do, remember–you want to be the first segment of the centipede.  Totally the best position.

Recommended viewing environment–Before a scheduled surgery; while contemplating a career change; after a long day of work at the sewage treatment plant and/or hospital.

Recommended viewing snacks–German cuisine;  Japanese-American fusion cuisine; fudge.

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Okay, I say this with absolutely no snark or sarcasm–Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favourite movies of all time.

It’s sometimes difficult for me not to intellectualize things. A golden tickets is not a metaphor for human’s self-actualization. A golden ticket is what every kid (and most adults) desire–a trip to a candy factory and a lifetime’s supply of chocolate. Hell yes.

For those of you who have internet access and have NOT seen Willy Wonka… well, here’s your very very brief overview. A chocolatier opens up his super secret factory to people who find a winning game piece in their candy bars. The prize for this contest? A lifetime’s supply of chocolate! Insert Charlie. Hardworking Charlie is living in poverty with his four bedridden grandparents (who all sleep in the same bed. Kinky!) and his underemployed mom. They eat cabbage water pretty much every night, which makes me wonder how bad that bed smells with those old people shitting in it. Anyway, guess who finds a ticket? Oh, you know who. And four little spoiled brats find winning tickets, too. The candy factory turns out to be fascinating to all the senses, with Willy Wonka being a crazy ass business owner… all with some catchy music!

It is considered a musical, so beware if you aren’t into that scene (though you probably have heard these songs before, unless you are living under a rock that does not get cable). The child actors do a great job as little shit heads. The only big names (that I’m aware of, at least) are Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson. Gene Wilder does an awesome job at being crazy. Take note that this is not the 2005ish (or so) version starring Johnny Depp called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is a bit closer to the book by Roald Dahl (he also wrote Matilda, which I just might review some day). I think half the reason why I like Willy Wonka is because it’s a childhood thing. We had a copy on VHS, and I still remember the white boxboard case with what looked like Wonka juggling the characters and stuff. It’s a great little family movie.

Even trying not to intellectualize it (and trying not to give away the plot, which is difficult, because it’s goddamn Willy Wonka!!!!), it’s still nice to think that in the world, good will prevail. The other little shits who got the golden tickets were already well off. Poor Charlie had nothing… I mean, a loaf of bread looked like a freaking feast to them. Greed, gluttony… that shit gets nowhere, and it led the kids to their demise. I like to think of karma, even if it isn’t that instantaneous. I like to think of the lessons I have learned as an unemployed worker. I like to think (even though some days, it’s very difficult) that if I release positivity into the world, that somehow… it will come back to me. I like to think that those who have treated others like shit (former supervisor, I’m talking about you) will not have horribleness handed to them, but just won’t be as flowing in the positive energy as those they have hurt.

Open thoughts about this movie, though:

1. How did Mr. Jopeck know Grandpa Joe if Grandpa Joe never left the house?
2. Who bought Grandpa Joe’s tobacco? In fact, where did he get money for it?
3. How did “Slugworth” enter the factory… if nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out? Did he live with the freaking Oompa Loompas?
4. Why didn’t the grandparents ever leave their bed? I like to think that they lost their jobs and were incredibly depressed and just couldn’t gather the energy to be productive (oh jobless, you know what I mean).
5. In this version, where’s Charlie’s dad? (I do like how he loses his job in the new movie!)

If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out, because you are missing an imperative part of pop culture. If you have seen it, watch it again. It’s often on cable (at least, it used to be on cable a lot), many libraries offer it, and it’s currently on Netflix streaming. Just try not to have a freak out during that crazy psychedelic scene, alright?

Recommended Viewing Setting: In bed, with many other people.

Recommended Viewing Snacks: Cabbage water (again!); fizzy lifting drinks (aka soda… and if you want some extra lift, I suggest cheap liquor); TV dinners (the cheaper and more 70s–high sodium/mystery meat, the better); nuts; tomato soup, roast beef, basked potato (with sour cream!), and blueberry pie; snozzberry ice cream. Oh, and chocolate. 😉

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I asked a few people (my movie watcher friends) if they have ever seen Duck Season. “You mean the Looney Tunes short?” Nope, I’m talking about a fine little quirky Mexican film.

I first saw this movie not on Netflix, but by borrowing the DVD from a library. I have no idea how or why the library obtained this movie, because the library isn’t in a very hip spot, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone speak Spanish around there. But anyhoo, libraries are great sources for free (though I have heard of some libraries “charging” rental fees for dvds and videos) movies–usually their collections consist of major blockbusters and classics, but you can also find some interesting obscure stuff that they must have picked up on the library supplier’s discount rack or something.

Temporada de patos (hereby referred to as Duck Season, because I can’t remember how to properly title things in Spanish) is a 2004 Mexican film. It’s in black and white, which should impress your hipster friends. It’s difficult to describe the movie without giving away too many details, mainly because there isn’t much plot, but here goes. Two teenage boys are chilling at the one’s home on a Sunday. Mom isn’t home. They have xbox (Specifically, Halo) and money for pizza. All is well for their day of chillaxing.

But… this is a movie, so you know something strange is going to happen. They encounter a stubborn (and lonely) neighbour. Their pizza delivery person is equally stubborn. These four characters mesh and talk about their lives on this particular Sunday. Holy crap, it sounds like The Breakfast Club, and I suppose it is with it’s interaction of similarities between unlikely characters, which is what this movie is all about. And yes, there is mention in the movie of the one character having a shitty job, so it’s right up the unemployed alley. 🙂

The dialogue isn’t particularly sharp or witty (Though the quote “John Lennon was a woman.” is particularly thought provoking!). There are no fancy special visual or sound effects. And I know that the plot doesn’t sound that great, but I feel like I’m trying to describe The Breakfast Club, which how do you really describe it except to say that a bunch of kids are in detention and realize how similar they are? I think of it like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The title character realizes that the ordinary is really extraordinary. At risk of sounding incredibly optimistic and cheerful, life is made up of so many micro-miracles that we pass by (apologies if that sounds like something a Nicholas Sparks’ fan would say.). Last night, I laughed my ass off over a true story someone told me–I usually don’t laugh that hard over Hollywood movies.

Duck Season is a very well-put together movie about boring, dull days that because memorable. The director did a great job at giving the film that dry feel by using black and white film and plain camera shots. Even the actors look like average, everyday people. The DVD copy I watched was in Spanish with English subtitles, but the Netflix instant queue version is dubbed in English. I highly recommend Duck Season if you need some very light material to watch, if you are into the dramedy scene and/or enjoy movies like Little Miss Sunshine, or if you want to watch an unpretentious indie film. Just have some patience because it starts slow–like a lazy Sunday–and ends with that feeling of “Shit, my case of the Mondays is starting already… wait, where did my day go?!.”

Recommended viewing snacks: Pizza (slightly cold), Mexican cuisine (real if you can, Tex-Mex if you must; Taco Bell is always a recommendation), Green Kool-aid + cheap liquor (must be equal to or greater than 80 proof) + packet of salt from fast food restaurant = Poor people margaritas, Coke (yep, splurge for the good brand instead of that generic cola you’ve been buying), brownies.

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I browsed my “recently watched” list in Netflix for something to give a little mini review on.

My dvd queue, my instant queue, and my recently watched list are a hodge podge of movies. If it sounds interesting, I’ll watch it. If it’s critically acclaimed, I’ll watch it. I tend to go towards artsy stuff and lighthearted stuff, because I really, really need to laugh and smile. Like, really.

So from my recently watched list I present to you a movie that stars unemployed people–Roger & Me. Roger & Me is a Michael Moore film from a long, long time ago–way back in 1989–that really, if you disregard the hairstyles, almost could be from 2009.

The documentary. I remember watching Disney nature movies in elementary school. What made them boring was the same monotonous narrator talking about a doe and its fawn in poor film quality (yes, I took note of this at an early age!). I always remember these movies being filmed in wooded areas or fields–native landscapes for me. Why couldn’t they film in the desert or ocean (Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso films would appear in around sixth grade)? I would giggle to myself at the word mate or urinate. haha.  Sex and pee are still hilarious today.

I saw a few Michael Moore movies in college, as well as some other documentaries. It seemed to me that the best documentaries had at least some of the following qualities:

1. Often they are about a boring (or at least unexpected) subject. I once saw a doc about mardi gras beads. Yes, beads! It was about Chinese manufacturing… it was unexpectedly interesting. There’s one about Helvetica… like the font. Or high scores on Pacman.

2. They are clever. Some may have even had some laugh out loud parts.
3. They make you think. They shouldn’t tell you what is good or bad, but should let you choose what is right and what is wrong.
4. They are personal. There is obviously some sort of reason why you want to make a film about a specific subject… and because of that, passion shoes.
5. They employ some interesting camera techniques, especially when they are low budget. Sometimes there is no audio and just a beautiful camera angle. I love when directors make movies to be the art they should be.

So anyway, onto Roger & Me… The title of the movie refers to Moore’s attempt to meet with Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors. Way back in the 1980s, GM did some crazy shit. Major layoffs were occurring in numbers that could not even be fathomed in Flint, Michigan–home of Michael Moore. Unemployment, foreclosures and evictions skyrocketed… holy shit, wait a minute, this sounds familiar! So to recap–GM (who was, at one point, pretty generous to their employees) is making shitloads of money, yet decides to move plants to Mexico to probably “save money.” People in Michigan, therefore, lose their jobs. These people then lose their houses… and sometimes, even their sanity. Crime rate goes up. Murder rates go up. Rat population goes up. A tourism campaign is launched and fails.

The interesting thing about this movie–at least I think it’s interesting–is the whole element of cause and effect. Because X happened, Y happened. Because Y happened, Z is happening. So much of it parallels to today’s economic situation–sending work elsewhere cuts costs (and then increases profit), but it fucks up things on a community basis. I also liked the little snippets of “real people” being affected by GM; it makes the story personal. I’m not a big fan of financial junk, but it was easy to understand and got it’s point across. I could see why its elementary approach would not appeal to economists and such professionals.

As an on-topic digression, I really feel there needs to be more support for the unemployed, and I just don’t mean in an economic sense. I thankfully had supportive friends, including some that experienced unemployment. But I also wish, at the same time, that I would have had like, a jobless mentor. Being jobless really messes things up in your life. I realized why people go crazy, and I’m really surprised that the suicide rate (and crime rates) aren’t super high… or maybe they are and they just aren’t being reported.

Now that I’m off that pedestal, Roger & Me is a must see if you like documentaries or films that considered “groundbreaking.” I also recommend it to those interested in the economy and the unemployed. It was also nice to know that I wasn’t alone–sure, these people were jobless 25 years ago, but it made me feel a little less alone. Also, if you are a fan of Moore’s other films, you’ll probably like it.

Recommended viewing setting: On a weekday, in lieu of your daily job search, while wearing a spotted t-shirt from your former company’s summer picnic.

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