Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bad Words

What the hell? How can this movie even be allowed? Here ya go- if you don't feel uncomfortable to the point of queasy watching a trashy prostitute show a young boy her huge breasts, then I'm a little worried for you. There is a sad and woeful immaturity, meanness and mental illness to this movie. It isn't a comedy- you will know that because if you laugh, you'll feel awful that you did. I am sorry we paid money to see it. It is supposed to be funny when Bateman slips alcohol to the kid. Not a sip- an entire tumbler or two in a bar. If Bateman had done this with maybe a 15 year old, I could see some adolescent humor (or not) or edge to it. But this kid is a CHILD- in real life, he is now 9 years old.  What exactly is this movie trying to be? Bateman's character is SO unlikeable and so disgusting, that it is hard to excuse his behavior or feel sorry for his backstory. He's in a spelling bee that he technically qualifies for because he didn't finish the 8th grade. But the twist at the end is something you see coming from a mile away. He sabotages his competition with idiotic remarks and pranks.  I could even forgive that. I don't even care if the kid used a green screen and never saw the prostitute.  The entire theme of this movie is grossly immature- it is no adult/child buddy movie for certain. I assume you have now gotten my point. I'm just surprised there weren't police visiting the set. Ewwwww. If you read my reviews, you know I'm not some prude. So it's up to you, of course.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted

What is wrong with movie reviewers in general? They are snobs. Take this movie, for example. I've seen the Muppet movies- every last one. I'm relatively famous for yelling "light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat" for no reason whatsoever. I have  The Art of the Muppets poster framed and hanging in the hallway from the New Orleans exhibit loooong ago. And I can even cry when I think of Jim Henson.  In my mind, there is no really bad Muppet movie, and there is no point comparing the movies to one another.  Now, to break the point I just made, I liked THIS one the best. I laughed out loud, tapped my toe to the catchy music and very funny lyrics, and I especially loved the silly plot.  In fact, if "I'm Number One" isn't nominated for an Oscar, well, then I am boycotting. So what if it is predictable? That is, after all, a relatively stupid criticism for a movie starring a bunch of muppets. There are a few references to classic cinema, art, some Cold War references, etc. What's not to like? nay- I say LOVE about the muppets. So, if your heart is merely a lump of coal that must be squeezed like an accordion to feel joy, then don't see it. But if you love the muppets and musical numbers and silliness, this is your 3.5 star movie of the month. Screw the reviewers. (except for me)

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

This is a time for honesty- I don't know how to review this so bear with me. It has great reviews everywhere- and I don't doubt those. I've seen every Wes Anderson movie. Maybe the fact that my previous favorite was The Fantastic Mr Fox, and that I hated the Life Aquatic,  might tell you something. I know people love Wes Anderson- to the point of fanaticism. I am not a fan of the "precious" or predictable and Anderson has been both to me. He lost his bonus points with me when he cast Gwyneth P in a movie. I'm that easily offended.  Yet, this time, he seems to have somewhat broken free and given us real substance. The GBH is an alpine confection of a hotel- the confection theme is continued in the featured fancy pastries that serve all sorts of purposes. In the darkest moments of the story, there are always the pastries. Ralph Fiennes is wonderful in this- just wonderful. He is the all-controlling concierge of the GBH, and he does it with a sweet whimsy, energy and a genuine comedic touch. His lobby boy is played by a newcomer you've never heard of- but he is the perfect side kick. Saoirse Ronin is charming, and Tilda Swinton- well, words fail.   There is a murder (well, a few), a stolen painting, many chase scenes, a prison break and other things. It's a good thing that it has such humor and such lovely sets, because you must stay wide eyed and  pay attention in this. There really aren't any tidy bows at the end. And for once, the quirky characters actually add to the plot rather than self-consciously announcing themselves as cast members in a Wes Anderson film.  If you do have a moment of boredom, just count the people in the cameo roles. It is unbelievable.  So what is the final judgment on this highly anticipated film? Aside from being a solid 15 minutes too long, it is really, really good. You will ache a little for the pink postcard of the brief time between wars in Europe, and you will feel the slow seeping of dread that begins to squeeze the color from life as brutality invades.  I think if you have not liked Anderson's movies in the past, this will be one you would like.  In a bit of irony- I had to look up the lesbian painting because I recognized it. It is a real painting (unlike the fake stolen one) and you might recognize it also. I'm just saving you the time- it is by Egon Schiele- an Austrian. So the real painting is a fake made for the movie, and the painting that takes its place is real. I'm done.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Wind Rises

This animated masterpiece (details to follow)  is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese airplane designer, whose passion for elegant design helped bring Japan to World War II. Hayao Miyazaki, a well known Japanese animation and manga creator who was also involved in Princess Mononoki and The Secret World of Arrietty.  It is lengthy- the 3:15 pm show (including previews) ran until 6:20 pm. At times, the story drags. But when the story drags, lean back and take time to marvel at the beautiful animation. In fact, there are moments where all you think is that each frame is the world's most wonderful coloring book; and then, other times, you see the characters against a backdrop that seems to be a beautiful watercolor.  I was mesmerized by the art.  It shows you that not all animation has to be 3D , or even detailed.  Also, I would advise you to see it in Japanese with subtitles. I think that dubbing is just awful- you as the viewer should know the intonation and cadence of the original language. Dubbing is a way for you to Americanize your own experience- but you should not. Who wants to hear a bunch of American actors screw it up? I can tell you that I didn't regret seeing it in Japanese for one second. This was a very good story. It is a Japanese writer/director's view of Japan's lead up and aggression in World War II, which you will struggle to understand. How a country that used oxen to transport test planes to the airstrips could get it into their heads to attack America. It cost us all dearly. I'd like to provide the usual list of exaggerations or omissions in the script, but I couldn't find a real biography of Jiro Horikoshi.  I'm sure there is one out there. If you are debating whether or not to see it, here is a gem- it was the highest grossing movie in Japan in 2013. It has a lot to recommend it. As long as it was, the children in the audience sat still the entire time. I don't know what the little ones who couldn't READ did, but the beauty of the film must have been enough for them.