“I Ain’t Done Nothing Funny.”

I’ve never had a real firm opinion of the Coen brothers. Some stuff I really like (O Brother Where Art Thou), some stuff I mostly like (True Grit), and some stuff I don’t particularly like at all (Fargo). And then, of course, there are also the films I could never quite make up my mind about (No Country for Old Men). So I kind of figured well, anything goes when I sat down to watch the Coens’ big screen film debut, Blood Simple.

phone booth

It’s not without its problems, but for the most part, I enjoyed this film.

Continue reading

“I’m In The Red Car!

So, my parents? Not real strict about what kind of movies I could watch as a kid. And by “not real strict,” I mean I don’t think there actually were any rules, not of any kind. To be fair to them, though, there probably didn’t need to be. I didn’t like scary things as a child, so if I was frightened by whatever they were watching, I excused myself to go play with my dolls. And honestly, I’m still a tiny bit baffled by parents who absolutely forbid their children from watching any rated R film, no matter what the story is actually about.

Still. This is not the kind of movie most kids probably watch at eight or nine years old.

cover

Because I’m not willing to post a picture of what they do while swimming in that pool.

Besides being wholly inappropriate, Color of Night is just a terrible, terrible movie. Like it won a Razzie for ‘Worst Picture of 1994’ terrible. But the film’s long been a joke between my sister and me because, really, who else has childhood nostalgia for a movie that shows Bruce Willis in all his, uh, resplendent glory? So we decided to rent it from Netflix.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

Continue reading

“You Were the Only Audience I Ever Needed.”

Last night, Mekaela and I watched The Brothers Bloom.

1

The Brothers Bloom is about two con artists, Stephen and Bloom (Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody). Bloom is unhappy and ready to quit the life, but Stephen convinces him to go along with one more job. Their mark? An eccentric shut-in billionaire named Penelope (Rachel Weisz).

In no way does the summary I just wrote at all capture the whimsical, meta tone of this story. I’m a huge fan of meta whimsy . . . in fact, Meta Whimsy is now my new imaginary band name . . . but I really wanted to watch The Brothers Bloom for two reasons:

1. Rian Johnson wrote and directed it. (Rian Johnson also wrote and directed Looper and Brick. Looper is fairly cool. Brick is kind of the best.)

2. Mark Ruffalo stars in it, whilst wearing a hat.

A

Look, I never said I’m not shallow. I like men in hats. I can’t lie about this.

Ultimately, I liked The Brothers Bloom. Unfortunately, I had a good idea where the movie was going before it even started (freaking spoilery youtube comments — I just wanted to watch the trailer, dammit), so I’m not sure if I picked up on all the foreshadow because it was obvious or because I knew where to look. Regardless, I think it’s a pretty clever movie, witty and kind of refreshing. I really enjoyed the tone and just the general aesthetics of this film. It is, if nothing else, not like most con movies you’re going to watch.

It does lose steam, though, somewhere in the third act. I like where the movie actually ends, and the story feels complete — which is a welcome change to most movies that suffer from a problematic third act — but somewhere in the last 30-45 minutes, the pacing starts to suffer under possibly one too many . . . I don’t know, it’s not even quite twists and turns, but . . . something. I know the exact moment when the movie starts to falter, but I’m not entirely sure how I’d choose to fix it.

Still, I had a fun time watching this one and — like Brick — would probably come to like and appreciate it more and more on repeat viewings.

Also, Bang Bang (Rinko Kukuchi) is pretty awesome.

QUOTES:

Bloom: “You don’t understand what my brother does. He writes his cons like dead Russians write novels, with thematic arcs and embedded symbolism and shit.”

Bloom: “Eat your waffles, fat man.”

Stephen: “That’s my new favorite camel.”

The Curator: “Your smile is the sun, ma cherie. And fallen men, we need the sun.”

Stephen: “Tastes like tinfoil.”

Stephen: “The perfect con is one where everyone involved gets just what they wanted.”

Penelope: “I think a little real danger might suit me, so if you three want to join my smugglers gang . . . you know, I’ll consider it.”

Stephen: “I’m not thrilled they set this in Mexico. There could be legitimate reasons, but — and I don’t like to simplistically vilify an entire country — but Mexico’s a horrible place.”

MVP:

Rachel Weisz. She’s great in this movie — I’d love to see her do more comedy.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL:

“There is no such thing as an unwritten life, just a badly written one.”

“I’m Your Huckleberry.”

Oh, this movie.

tombstone

I watched Wyatt Earp a few years ago — I don’t even remember why — and I read Emma Bull’s Territory last year, so I figured I might as well add Tombstone to the list of westerns-to-watch this year. You know, really round out my various versions of the OK Corral and the Vendetta Ride.

Yeah. Not the best idea I’ve ever had.

Continue reading

“As For You, Ma-Ma . . . Judgment Time.”

I haven’t finished my Iron Man 3 review yet — work keeps getting in the way, dammit, and also writing that could, at least potentially, make me some money, and reading too, because The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the BEST — but I do at least have a Baby Review for you.

dredd

I’d planned to see this in theater (mostly because I kept hearing good things about it, which surprised me) but I never quite got there. So my friend Denise and I did a little movie exchange: she borrowed my copy of the original The Thing, and I borrowed this.

Dredd is a lot of fun, but it’s getting the Baby Review treatment today, partially because I’m a busy nerd who wants to get back to her regularly scheduled reading time, but also because I just don’t have a lot to say about it. I can’t compare it to the original comics because I’ve never read them. I can’t compare it to the Sylvester Stallone movie because I’ve, thankfully, never seen it. And the film makes absolutely no attempt to be any deeper than it needs to be. Judge Dredd himself (Karl Urban) has virtually no kind of character development or backstory of any kind. They tell you absolutely nothing about him, just that he’s a badass. Sometimes, I’m okay with that. This is one of those times.

Here’s what I can say about Dredd:

1. Despite being set in a dystopian America where crime is so prevalent that the police are authorized to be judge, juries, and executioners, Dredd has a very similar plot set-up to The Raid: Redemption, an Indonesian martial-arts action movie that I also really liked.

raid poster

2. Karl Urban is fun as Dredd, all stern and badass and very Clint Eastwood — who apparently was a big inspiration for the character in the comic books. Also, he never takes off his helmet, which is apparently a Big Deal. (It’s okay. I can wait a couple of weeks to see Karl Urban’s pretty face in Star Trek: Into Darkness.)

3. Olivia Thirlby plays Dredd’s new, psychic, probationary partner, and she gets the unenviable task of being the I Must Learn The Will to Kill girl — at least to an extent — but she does the job pretty decently, I think, and overall I like her quite a bit.

4. Also, psychic showdowns? Kind of awesome. I love it when mental battles are actually done well in movies.

5. Lena Headey continues to be a Bad Ass in all things.

dredd-lena-headey-ma-ma

5. This is the rare film where all the slow-motion action is actually highly plot relevant and surprisingly works pretty well. (I do think they use it maybe one or two more times than they need to, and occasionally the shiny-ness of it all is a little silly and would probably look better with a bigger budget, but overall it works.)

6. Decent foreshadow and set-up in this movie. I can’t go into detail without spoilers, but I approve. I also like that this isn’t a big Save the World story, that it’s just a job, one day’s violent BS in a long string of violent BS-filled days. That works for me.

7. Dredd is a pretty violent film, which also works for me. There are a few surprising moments too, just stuff you don’t normally see in action movies like this — like what might happen to innocent bystanders during those big cop car chase sequences — and I enjoyed those little moments.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fun, solid action flick.

MVP:

Karl Urban. He basically has to do all of his acting with his voice and chin, so even if there isn’t much in the way of character to explore — you need a strong lead to sell this.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL:

There is no negotiation.

“Come At Me. Every Inch of Me Will Resist You.”

When my friend Robyn came to visit, we attempted to watch Coons! Night of the Bandits of the Night, and barely made it through the trailers before giving up. (So, Rob? Congratulations. You broke me. I am a broken woman now. I hope you’re happy.)

We decided to watch this instead:

battle-royale-movie-poster-2000-1020403336

I have this poster on my wall, and though you can’t see it from the picture, it has the very best tagline ever. Said tagline?

Survivor Who Kill Everyone Even Though Best Friend.

This is a fair representation of the translation quality throughout the film.

Continue reading