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Where to Invade Next (2015)
As a non-fan....
I like it. After his fine debut "Roger & Me", Michael Moore became too much of a self- righteous truther, naming political names in his following ambitious, sometimes well intended, half-truth feature docs. If you think about it, his 25 years of movies DID NOT change a thing or make anyone's life better, or put crooks behind bars, in fact people only got angrier, more fearful which is not a good trend. It was appearing Moore was a paid shill, stage act himself, as he has become very wealthy.
Just as I think he is not growing as a filmmaker, along comes "Invade", which is a "flower picked" (not weeds) travelogue showing political and socio-economic structures that work very well in many parts of the world, and how far we have fallen. Compare the US to others with 8 hr work days, no second job and 6 weeks vacation a year, have time and community for friends, no college debt, educated, etc etc. Didn't need to see the movie to figure that out as I have asked 1/2 the exact same questions to people in my recent travels abroad over the years. People are amazed too many Americans have 2 jobs, no vacation time or travel money, but already knew how unhealthy and uneducated we are. Was glad to see Moore's invasion despite wanting to bang my head on the wall over rethinking the American apathy epidemic, which is not an opinion. We don't need stronger wealth, but a stronger sense of community to survive. Nobody learns, so It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN the collapse will happen. This film paints a more optimistic picture of the possibilities. I support it, but it's just a movie. Nothing will change, the consequences of apathy are too great.
The Forger (2014)
Travolta bio? / hidden messages?
Was Travolta "Going Clear" himself, in code, "Forging" a film, outing himself, and Scientology? This was curiously and quietly released on the heels of the HBO Scientology doc "Going Clear".
This is not so much a review but an observation. For those who saw this, I found it interesting that his character is trying to save his teen son, like in real life. He has an estranged wife on pills who curiously looks like Kelly Preston. Was Travolta's prison sentence represent the "prison" of Scientology? In this film Travolta's slick handlers beat him despite that he delivered the goods (a lifelike Scientology rumor). There is also a hint at Travolta's alleged homosexual lifestyle - scene where Travolta leaves a men's bathroom, the son asks "you followed that guy in the bathroom, why" (the choice of words is curious, Travolta, the actor could have easily revised this, but didn't, the words plant a seed). Also when he is setting up his handlers to fall, he states to a detective "I can't snitch, let this play out". Travolta himself stays honorable to his institution. Hmmmm? All I could see was a Travolta bio here hidden in plain sight. Movies are well known to wear disguises, that what makes them fun or re-watchable.
Despite the bad reviews this film is very engaging, and Travolta's best performance in some time. Perhaps it (intentionally) hit close to home. So did he "forge" a heist film, which was a drama, in an attempt to free himself? Just a thought.
Brief Review part - Plot wise this is ridiculous that Travolta has to repay is debt by not only creating an art forgery worth millions, BUT ALSO coordinate the elaborate heist with his family. That's a tall order even superheroes wouldn't task! But the film is not about the heist, rather family. Christopher Plummer is great as his father. Well directed and paced. Not sure why this got trashed.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Hate to say, "Pulp Fiction" had brilliant bits, but back in 1994 opening day, had sky high hopes and left with minor disappointment. Solid reasons: excessive pop culture references, Bruce Willis girlfriend, too many awkward slacker supporting roles, far too many homages got distracting.
Watched it 2 weeks ago (2014), and scenes are actually embarrassing from not aging well, specifically the entire Jack Rabbit Slims bit. Juvenile.
For some reason, my Favorite bit is actually the dialogue free long take of Bruce Willis hiking to his apt for the watch, the confrontation, and driving away listening to Flowers on the Wall.
Also, the Blu Ray is too clear. I almost prefer this specific title in VHS or Laserdisc, not digitally cleaned up, more muddy. Harsh light Cinematography is bad, no wonder QT tossed him.
This is dated. The impact is softened, due on some part to it being lifted by 100's of filmmakers. Within the same year, there was Fugitive, Schindler, Shawshank - none of which were as ballsy, but they're not dated, shot great. Even 1984's Repo Man is less dated, similar vibe, more groundbreaking IMO. QT never gives Repo Man's Alex Cox credit, and seemed to take off where Cox left off after being booted from Hollywood.
La danza de la realidad (2013)
In 2014, Jodorowski was photographed with Kanye West. I guess he's catching up with current times. Because currently, a majority movies are shot HD terrible, and are plain terrible. This movie is no exception. He might want to be just as terrible as Kanye. It did not seem like he had a vision for this film, his alleged personal story. Long ago he impressed with his early work that many still admire, and I appreciate more than praise. I prefer "Santa Sangre" (8/10). "Dance" is neither soulful or a head trip. Clumsily made. Bad CGI. Film Tech 1 kind of stuff here. Throw at the wall and see what sticks or shocks. My guess is someone threw money at Jodorowski and begged him to make something. After a long wait, we get loud angry amputee street battles, a mother with big boobs who's exclusively operatic recitative, and a penis electrocution (close-up), with pretty colors thrown in the production design, just because. Of note also, the Dune documentary was a turn-off, which was a 90 minute poor me drama where AJ never takes blame. Still respect his previous works even though it's clear that passionate Jodorowski is a huckster who is full of it, still. He got my $7 of the $235,000 US theatrical gross.
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
Out of circulation
Must be a good kids film. In the mid-80's I watched this CBS broadcast VHS recording several times. For some reason this captivated me. Perhaps because Arkin and Burnett are treasures to watch. I wanted to see this again, but where is it??? It looks like it only had one limited VHS release, and is not even VOD on Warner archives or streaming, nor is it ever mentioned. I believe this received widespread undeserved 1 star ratings in 1981. This deserves more. Back then they released major movies shot on film, wrote stories that weren't franchised, hired talented people, and focused on character development, and had content with redeeming qualities. Little of which is offered in 2014, so I was seeking this out to fill the void.
Before Midnight (2013)
2nd was best.
To relate, I'm about 2 years in age behind these two, with less marriages, and art directed a major book. Wish I could say I lived in France or Greece! "Sunset" is easily the best. Found it rewarding Hawke's passions, and years of wondering lead him to his lost love. It was exciting to imagine the 9 years we didn't see. I liked his character after loathing him in "Sunrise", but appreciated the romanticism of travel and "what if?" romance. Now here in the 3rd, Delpy is the annoying one, and this was boring. Perhaps this trilogy accomplished something, because I have mixed emotions about all 3 films over the span of 18 years. It certainly makes me think. Can't bash the film completely. But "Sunset" was the most rewarding, as was the last 1/2 hour of "Sunrise". This didn't have a hook other than the locations. Their bickering wasn't even cute, but really depressing, like when real life love fizzles. Was that the point?
Under the Dome (2013)
While the premise was interesting for a mini-series, and the pilot itself engaging enough not to notice the acting talents. The story began to fall apart, during the silly execution of the poorly plotted food riots (featuring bad acting by extras) episode 3 or so. This series really has to depend on top grade acting to sell the thin to suddenly contrived story lines. I think I cringe every time one of the teens mention "The dome wants that, I think it's telling us". Ouch, my suspension-of- disbelief nerve has been severed that I'll never believe another word they say. The women who suddenly appears and starts a fight club - not community theater worthy. They couldn't keep Fahey? Not a TV guy, but was in the mood to give a King story a try at a perfect time during summer. What a blow! This is a real mess at this stage. I now Fast-Fwd through the episodes, as of 9, just for the sake of finishing it. I won't be back for series 2. Also, I don't really care to see yet another show with the monarch/butterfly/mind-control/trauma themes. We get the social commentary beaten into us. How 'bout satire? None. They should work on the humanity part, but TV/film cabal isn't interested in that so much since the 2000's force-feeding doom, gloom, and propaganda primarily. The cabal tries to tell it's viewers what trash they are, and it goes straight over the heads as they clamor for more. Just amazing. OK pilot though, mmmhmm.
Breakup at a Wedding (2013)
There are too many wedding movies, and found-footage films. However you won't feel labored by the familiarity here. Seems to have a British humor quality to it, following "The Office" type of humor, or a little of "Death at a Funeral".
The cast is quite good. Nobody is trying too hard to be funny, and there are laughs, and even when there isn't it seems to have a charm to it throughout. Don't know what the budget what, but it has tight editing, and good unknown (to me) soundtrack selections. Does not feel like an independent film, but a something of cable or theatrical. Indies are flooding the market, and this one as of this date is lost in that shuffle. Also I love the Drew Struzan "Police Academy" type poster.