Reviews written by registered user
|4140 reviews in total|
The current year isn't even halfway through, but it's already had what it probably the funniest movies. Seth Gordon's "Identity Thief" does teach a good lesson about making sure that no one's gotten your credit card number or anything like that, but mostly it is one hilarious movie. Anyone who says nasty things about Melissa McCarthy (most of which refer not to her comedy style but to her girth) doesn't know jack. McCarthy is a very clever comedienne, and she's starred in a very good movie. I don't know if I had a favorite scene, but I did like the snake scene. It's a movie that you're just bound to love. It might seem like a pointless movie, but it's a good one. Do see it.
This unabashedly silly movie is about an executive whose penis develops
its own personality. I saw "Me and Him" as a comedic look at Sigmund
Freud's studies: isn't it basically a stereotype that men think not
with their brains but with their penises? It's a pretty funny movie,
the type of flick that makes no pretense about being totally absurd.
The star is Griffin Dunne, widely known as the decaying friend in "An American Werewolf in London" and the brother of Dominique Dunne (the older sister in "Poltergeist" who got murdered while it was in the theaters). Ellen Greene played Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors", while Kelly Bishop played Jennifer Grey's mother in "Dirty Dancing".
Worth seeing, if only once.
Mika Kaurismäki's "Zombie ja Kummitusjuna" ("Zombie and the Ghost
Train" in English) is the first movie that I've seen by either of the
Kaurismäki brothers. I understand that the brothers make a lot of
movies about people whose lives suck. If so, then this movie is
familiar territory. The main character is a guy who's really into
music, but has no ambition otherwise. He spends a lot of time drifting
and living on the streets of Istanbul. Maybe the whole point of the
movie is to present the antithesis of what Scandinavia (presumably
including Finland) is supposed to be: the region is viewed as pristine
and having the world's highest quality of life, but the Kaurismäki
brothers portray it as a s---hole.
Don't get me wrong. I thought that it was a good movie. Just understand that it's a REAL downer. Still worth seeing, though.
PS: The Kaurismäki brothers are friends of Jim Jarmusch, and so some of the cast members from their movies starred in the Helsinki segment of Jarmusch's "Night on Earth".
After watching Jules Dassin's "Du rififi chez les hommes" ("Rififi" in
English), all that I can say is that it blew my mind. I don't think
that there's ever been a heist movie like this one. Following his
blacklist in Hollywood, Dassin went on to direct one of the all-time
Without a doubt the best scene is the heist itself. The protagonists carry out the heist without a word. Their silence and the sweat dripping off their faces creates a level of tension like you can't imagine. Of course it's what happens after the heist that provides a major part of the story.
Basically, this movie is one of the best. The acting, directing, cinematography, and Magali Noël's belting out the theme song combine to make a perfect cinematic experience. On a scale of one to ten it's a twenty. Dassin later directed another great heist movie with "Topkapi" starring his wife Melina Mercouri.
After watching Jan vankmajer's "Otesánek" ("Little Otik" in English),
all that I can say is "What the hell did I just watch?" Don't get me
wrong, it's a pretty good movie, just one of the more twisted movies
out there. Jan Hartl and Veronika ilková play an infertile Czech
couple who adopt a tree stump as a baby...only to see it come to life
and start eating everyone who crosses its path!
Yes, it's mainly a black comedy from the master of weird animation, but while watching the movie I got the feeling that it was also looking at the residual effects of the Soviet occupation, as people eat rotten-looking porridge. It also seemed as though the girl befriended Otik out of a feeling of alienation from her parents (the same sort of reason why the children in Stephen King's novels join up with each other). Whatever the case, I liked the movie. But just remember, it's a VERY disturbing movie.
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" is a movie that understands full well what kind of movie it is and so they made it as zany as possible. Peter Weller was a few years away from playing RoboCop when he played the renaissance man who travels through solid matter and brings Earth into confrontation with aliens. What was particularly neat was when they noted that all matter is mostly empty space due to the spinning of the atoms (which presumably makes it possible to travel through the matter). And of course the part about Orson Welles's radio broadcast was cool. But mostly, the movie is just fun, and it looks like the sort of movie that they probably had fun making. As long as you accept it as an unabashedly silly flick, you're sure to enjoy it. Weller, as well as John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum and the rest turn in some great performances.
Now here's something. John Badham* of "Saturday Night Fever" and
"WarGames" fame directs a movie about a robot that gets struck by
lightning and becomes sentient. Some scenes are clearly inserted for
comic relief, but the movie flows very smoothly. Steve Guttenberg (best
known for "Police Academy") and Ally Sheedy (best known for "The
Breakfast Club") both play roles that look like different turns for
them. It's just a really fun movie that everyone can enjoy. I sure
liked it. A bit like "E.T." without copying it too much.
PS: "Weird Al" Yankovic spoofed the theme song "Who's Johnny" as "Here's Johnny" (about Ed McMahon, not "The Shining").
*John Badham's sister Mary played Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird".
Spanish horror director Jesús "Jess" Franco died recently, so I decided
to watch one of his movies. "Die Liebesbriefe einer portugesischen
Nonne" ("Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun" in English) offers a
scathing look at the Catholic Church. It tells the story of a teenage
girl whom a priest sees cavorting with a boy, and he makes her become a
nun as penance. We see how the nuns are sexually repressed, while the
priest and mother superior do everything possible to humiliate the
novice. Specifically, there's a lot of torture going on. There are some
VERY ugly scenes.
On the one hand this is basically the average movie that goes as much for shock value as possible. Even so, the movie is also an indictment of the RCC's blatant hypocrisy (note the scene where the priest uses the girl's confession as a way to get sexually aroused). The Church's policies in Medieval Europe constituted some of the most vicious misogyny imaginable.
It's only the second Jess Franco movie that I've seen. In fact, the copy that I saw looked like a copy of a copy (or copied from the TV) and was dubbed in English with Finnish subtitles! I hope to see more of his movies in the future. Just understand that this is a good movie, but definitely not for the fainthearted.
Roger Michell's "Hyde Park on Hudson" focuses on an affair between
Franklin Roosevelt and his sixth cousin while the British monarchs were
visiting. However, it brings up some other things. One scene shows FDR
noting that when the private sector can't stimulate the economy, the
government has to pick up the slack. His Keynesian policies got the US
out of the Great Depression, and yet few politicians champion
Keynesianism today. But even more important is Eleanor Roosevelt. She's
basically a tertiary character in this movie. Her unwavering activism
throughout her entire life should earn her a movie.
But anyway it's a pretty fun movie. A lot of the humor derives from the attempts by both sides to avoid any kind of faux pas (even though some arise). As with a few of his other recent roles, Bill Murray's serious performance here makes it easy to forget that he was once a "Saturday Night Live" cast member and then starred in lovably silly flicks like "Caddyshack" and "Ghostbusters". Worth seeing.
David Chase's "Not Fade Away" looks at what it was like to come of age
in the '60s. The main focus is a New Jersey teenager who decides to
join a band, but there are clear signs of everything that was going on:
the Vietnam War, the generation gap, racial tensions, and Dean Martin's
mean-spirited comment about the Beatles. Contrary to the previous
reviewer, I would say that this movie is better than "Almost Famous".
The latter was too fluffy and came across as a sanitized look at its
era. This one is very upfront about what sorts of things happened
(including some very tense scenes). And the final line poses a good
question about how we as Americans want to be known to the world. Can
we eventually look to our best qualities to do what's right?
Anyway, this is a good movie. It's got great music and brings up some important points. I recommend it.
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