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pretty good movie of pretty girls turn pretty mean, 25 August 2015

Kati and Steffi are lifelong best friends. Yvonne gives Jochen a blow job which pisses off the girls. While out in a club, the girls see Steffi's father kissing an unknown woman. Steffi plans revenge on the woman and the girls track her down. Her name is Tessa. Yvonne reveals to Steffi that she's beaten at home and plans to do porno for the money to runaway to Paris. Steffi sets Tessa to sing for Carlos and then tricks her to see the pornographer. The guy tries to rape Tessa and Kati rescues her. It turns out that Tessa's mom is having the affair with Steffi's father. She goes to confront Steffi and her family. Yvonne goes missing and Steffi won't say a word. Kati is concerned about Steffi as she goes on a downward spiral.

This is a pretty good movie about good girls turn mean girls. The two leads are pretty good. The actors are all pretty good. There is a few coincidences that bug me a little. The movie starts with a coincidence of the girls catching the father cheating. I'm not sure how the girls track the boots. The biggest coincidence is Kati saving Tessa. I'm sure why Kati is there. I like some of the edginess but the coincidences concern me.

gentle mockumentary without the usual gut busting laughs, 25 August 2015

Famed folk music producer Irving Steinbloom is dead and a memorial concert is organized by the Steinbloom kids to feature his three most famous acts; The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey.

It's a Christopher Guest mockumentary without his usual big laughs. The characters are handled too gently. There is no edge to the material. It becomes the thing that it tries to mock which is a blend boring documentary of inconsequential matters. Also the stakes for the musicians don't seems to be that high. There is a desperation in Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show that is missing here. These musicians aren't desperate enough for this gig.

Comedian (2002)
like Seinfeld, 25 August 2015

What does somebody do after ending one of the cultural icons of the 90s? If it's Jerry Seinfeld, he continues his stand up. He decides to throw out his old material and start writing new stuff. It's months of work as he slowly build up a new set. In a secondary story, Orny Adams is a struggling 29 year old stand up comic. He's confident but neurotic about his lack of success. He wonders if life is passing him by.

I like going inside of Jerry's standup life behind the stage and talking to other comics. This is good as a bit of behind of scene documentary. It doesn't go too much into his personal life which is perfectly fine. I doubt it's crazy and wild. The little glimpses are normal and it's unlikely to be relevant. When Chris Rock talks about Crosby, it's electric. Of course, there's a whole new connotation.

The second story with Orny is a distraction. He's a bundle of nerves and arrogance. If they want to add a second comic, I want someone at Jerry's level. I don't want to be mean but I don't really care about him. I don't wish him ill and I'm excited seeing him with some success. However, his complains annoy me a little.

Mallrats (1995)
silly follow up to great debut from Kevin Smith, 25 August 2015

College student T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) plans to go on a Florida trip with Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani) but she has to fill in on her father's TV show. They argue and break up. His insensitive friend Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) gets dumped by his girlfriend Rene Mosier (Shannen Doherty). They go to the local mall and discover that the show is being filmed there. Brodie recruits Jay and Silent Bob to disrupt the show.

When compared to his first film, this Kevin Smith movie is sillier and poorer. Some of it plays like Home Alone. He's never been a visual master and this is very much in that vein. The movie is filled with Smith's love of comics and other childish gags. It's got some memorable characters like Tricia Jones, the teen Masters and Johnson. Jay and Silent Bob have become cartoon characters. Lee and Doherty are trying but London is a dud. If Smith wants wacky comedy, London is the blackhole in the middle sucking the fun out of everything.

Lucas (1986)
sweet and awkward with hormones everywhere, 25 August 2015

Lucas Bly (Corey Haim) is a smart bug-loving nerd. He falls in love and befriends new girl Maggie (Kerri Green) during the last days of summer. He pretends to be rich and popular but his family simply mows the lawns. During a school assembly, Lucas gets embarrassed by a football player. His antics earns the respect of football captain Cappie Roew (Charlie Sheen) and his girlfriend Alise (Courtney Thorne-Smith). Cappie is nice to him because he helped him before. Maggie starts to fall for Cappie and the more popular crowd. She even joins the cheerleaders despite Lucas' ridicule. All the while, Rina (Winona Ryder) actually likes Lucas but he dismisses her for Maggie.

The great thing in this teen drama is that none of the lead characters are all good all the time. They are simply teens trying to get by. Lucas is ruled by his fears and his awkwardness. He is racked with jealousy and pettiness. His heartbreak is heartbreaking. Maggie and Cappie are nice people trying to navigate a complicated teen romance. Lucas would be a bullied saint in another simplified teen movie. The audience is left wishing Lucas could be his best self.

disjointed flashbacks, 25 August 2015

Jack Dodds (Michael Caine) was an east London butcher who leaves his Last Orders to four men to fulfill. Gambler Ray Johnson (Bob Hoskins) is his WWII military buddy. Along with former boxer Lenny (David Hemmings), undertaker Vic (Tom Courtenay) and Jack's son luxury car dealer Vince (Ray Winstone), they take his ashes to scatter in Margate where he never got to retire with his wife Amy (Helen Mirren). Vince is conflicted about his parents after discovering his real family was killed in a bombing during the war. Their lives together are revealed in flashbacks. Amy is on her own journey to see her mentally challenged daughter.

The cast is world class. With such bright stars, I had high hopes of explosive power acting. The story is disjointed with flashback vignettes. Honestly, I struggle to follow with the British accents and fragmented storytelling. It's tough to stay connected with each character. The constant jumping around makes it too much work.

Ladder 49 (2004)
solid firefighting melodrama but nothing more, 25 August 2015

Baltimore firefighter Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) saves a man in a massive waterfront grain elevator fire. He is hit by a massive explosion and gets trapped. In flashbacks, Jack is a rookie in Ladder Company 49 led by the Mike Kennedy (John Travolta). He tries to fit in and gets hazed. He meets and marries Linda (Jacinda Barrett). They have a family together and he fights fires with his mates.

It's a firefighting melodrama. There is plenty of firefighting action. Its greatest sin is that it doesn't stand out. I remember the rookie hazing but nothing much more. I think the grain elevator fire makes for an exciting action thriller movie. The rest of this movie would make for a nice TV firefighter procedural show. The acting is solid. It's a competent movie but nothing spectacular.

cult comedy has limited repetitive appeal, 25 August 2015

The Chosen One (Steve Oedekerk) was attacked by the mysterious Evil Council. They killed his parents but he already had kung fu powers even as a baby. He managed to escape and raised by rodents. His powers continue to grow as he fends off his tormentors. He has a thing on his tongue that he calls Tonguey.

The silly voice dubbing is funny for awhile but it gets repetitive. The same goes for the silly ridiculous fighting. The use of old kung fu movies also wears thin. There are some good comedy but all of it just feels repetitive. This genre parody has some cult appeal but it's limited in the broader audience.

Chandler (1971)
Philip Marlowe it ain't, 25 August 2015

Raymond Chandler (Warren Oates) is tired of his empty security job and quits. Corrupt government official Ross J. Carmady is looking to take control of gangleader John Melchior. Bernie Oakman offers old acquittance Chandler as a patsy and hires him to protect government witness Katherine Creighton from Melchior without telling her. He befriends her and rescues her from kidnappers.

The name seems to be there to confuse fans of Raymond Chandler who created hard-boiled private eye Philip Marlowe. Chandler is world-wearied but sadly he's lifeless. The movie has nothing. The directions are stiff and without style. It's a sad tired effort. Everybody seems to be moving at half speed. Its production problems are the least of the deficiencies. Carmady's plans are not explained well. The shooting style is horribly stiff. Warren Oates looks uncomfortably small. The story is slower than molasses. Even the car chase is badly done. This is amateur hour.

Memento (2000)
unique viewing experience, 25 August 2015

Leonard (Guy Pearce) suffers from short term memory loss. His last permanent memory is an attack by two men. He killed the one who killed his wife. The other one escaped after clubbing him in the head. The police dismisses the idea of a second man. He keeps a record of his experiences using tattoos, Polaroids and hidden notes. He has to figure out whether he can trust Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) or Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) as he searches for the second man to avenge his wife.

Brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan announce their arrival with this unique screenplay. The forward-reverse order makes the movie disjointed and confused in a good way. It's a beautiful struggle to figure out the plot. It puts the audience in Leonard's shoes. It's a jigsaw puzzle that Leonard with his memory loss also struggles with.

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