24 February 2010

The Girlfriend Experience

If I ever became a movie director — a dream of mine — I would like to be known as someone who pays homages to the Cohen brothers or who understands composition as well as Scorsese. But in actuality, I'd probably be more like Soderbergh, making movies all the time, taking silly chances, throwing symbolism and theme into films that no one gets, and generally missing the mark on everything I do. Oceans 12 and 13 come to mind as some of the worst director decision-making I've ever seen (next to Michael Bay of course). While Bubble may be one of the best Indie films I've ever seen.

Where Sophia Coppola is hailed as being an experimenter and a genius (Lost in Translation sucked), Soderbergh actually takes chances. Bubble casts actual people into roles who aren't actors (they worked in the doll factory that the movie was set in) and The Girlfriend Experience casts porn star Sasha Gray in a non-gratuitous, but more provocative role as a detached and arrogant escort who thinks nothing more than to surround herself with people who serve her ego, support her jaded opinions, and generally consider money more important than any other human endeavor.

It is, to put it bluntly, this is a daring enterprise. The film is complex and unforgiving, cast with people without devoid of any previous "movie pedigree." In this, everyone is believable as everyone they presume to be.

Film Critics looking through the lens of artistic rules and values may review this movie in a different light — I actually tried to avoid any other reviews of this movie in order to enjoy it from my own point of view — but I think they'll miss the point entirely. The movie, when viewed by a rational fan of movies (and not a critic), takes you to difficult, unflinching, and sometimes very awkward places. And if you've read my reviews before, you know I love awkward... I love the natural beats that take place between the places where people say or do something "naturally irrational" before seeing the results of that thought or action.

This movie pays rent in that place.

Chelsea is the main character of the film and her boyfriend (yes, she has a boyfriend who knows what she does) is named Chris, a physical trainer who actually comes across as a believable character beyond the realm of telling people to do more squats. Unfortunately, he also comes across as a big sissy in the end, when he can't even get out the words:

"Get the hell out of here."

to the woman who has obviously been taking advantage of him.

I never have a good closing statement for movie reviews, so you're not going to get one here, either. If you like what I've said, go rent it.

21 February 2010

The Hurt Locker

I am a fan of Kathryn Bigelow's work. She is not your typical action director. And she maybe the only female action director out there, however, I'm not completely sure how I feel about her latest work.

She's earn accolades for this film, but she also botched The Weight of Water. She made Strange Days, but she's also responsible for Point Break.

I'm not sure how to feel about all this.

I can see that Hurt Locker was supposed to mean something, but I think enough of it drags and the early tension drains you so much, that by hour 2.5 you're exhausted.

The movie earned a 97 on rotten tomatoes. 97! That's almost unheard of. Is everyone drinking the kool-aid? Are we so hungry for authentic war films, that we'll endanger our own taste buds to assert that "Yes. This is the one to see."

I'm not condemning it. I guess I'm saying, I don't necessarily see it.

The opening half is amazing, but the second half is not. And I don't know who to blame.

That is all.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Based on Tucker Max's amazing and true book and website (I'm still reading the book), this movie is good for about 55 minutes, before resorting to tired comedic tropes and platitudes. Unapologetic, sexist, over the top, and rampant with amazing dialog, this movie was 100 times the film that Hangover was. Before it too resorted to pooh humor. Sadly, the plot falls apart, but the characters and dialog do not.

Drew — played by Jesse Bradford — steals the movie every chance he gets.

The strippers and women in this film are only believable if you take into account that good-looking men can get away with anything. And once that seeps into your mind, you'll either love or hate Tucker Max… and certainly envy him.

I'm not sure how much is "made up" for the plot of this movie, but I assume a lot. The book is raunchy and the actions beyond imagination, but the film adds a lot of "Hollywood" at the right moments, that detracts from the events, in my opinion.

Overall, a good watch, though.

Traci Lords has a short cameo as well.

Justice League : Crisis on Two Earths

Drawing from the hugely successful comic "Crisis on Infinite Earth," this animated film opens strong (and with only a few failed guffaws) and ends strong as well. Flash is hilarious as always. And superwoman in the alternate earth is HOT!!!

er...

For a cartoon.

I could have done without the "Guido" accent contingent, but that's a small complaint about an otherwise fantastic movie.

While Marvel dominates the live-action market of superhero movies with hit and miss products, DC continues to release great animated films. And there's plenty of character "easter eggs" in this one for hardcore DC fans.

And James Woods in it, too.

And if you hate Superman, like I hate Superman, than you'll be glad to know he does not dominate this story. Sadly, Batman does (in a story filled with super-powered beings).

The Hangover

I can't believe I bothered to watch this. With such fantastic movies such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Four Christmases under their belts, writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore complete their journey into the realm of moron humor with the worse execution of a brilliant plot ever devised since the 40-Year Old Virgin.

Comedies continue to get dumber and dumber in the 21st century. And thanks to guys like Judd Apatow, anyone can eek out two farts and a sodomy joke into a script, and it's comedy gold.

Sigh.

I've already written 100 words about the Hangover.

I'm done.