Friday, October 29, 2010
Lisbeth Salander returns for the final installment of the millenium trilogy and this is the weakest of the bunch. That doesn't mean it's not good, but could it have been better? Yes, or maybe not. I haven't read the last book so I am not sure what's been taken out.
The film's issue is that Lisbeth, a character who doesn't talk much anyway, is pretty much mute in this film. She spends much of the film healing from being shot and buried alive in the last film and then it becomes a court case movie. It's meant to be a thriller, but it's sort of obvious where it's all going to end up.
More of the focus shifts to Mikael Blomkvist played by Michael Nyqvist (perfect in his role) and his journey out to prove that Lisbeth has been treated horribly by the very institutions that were meant to be protect her. There's a coverup, and a conspiracy, not to mention rape and torture as well. Lisbeth has had pretty much every horrible thing that can happen to a girl, happen to her. We understand even more why she is the way she is. That kind of betrayal stays with someone, and no wonder she has walls built around her that are made out of steel. I would too.
Lisbeth is charged with attempted murder of her father, Zalachenko, the scum of the earth. It's not really clear as to why Lisbeth is singled out when she's the victim. But through lost records, or rather hidden records, the truth is eventually revealed. But not before Lisbeth, who has felt she's never been heard, arrives in court with a kick-ass mohawk, piercings all over her face and leather. It's her way of saying "fuck you" to the court system. To the governmental system that put her there in the first place, who destroyed the little girl's trust.
However, the movie isn't over after the court case. There is one last physical battle to be fought. The battle is predictable in its approach, but satisfying nonetheless as Lisbeth has her final revenge.
I grew to care for Lisbeth Salander, played wonderfully by Noomi Rapace, and I hope that in her fictional world, she has found some kind of solace and trust and most of all, love.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Death affects us all. Each of us experience it from the one side, the life side, but one day we'll experience it from the other side. Nobody can avoid it. It's part of life. Hereafter, written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) explores death, but not so much the grief of losing a loved one, but the idea of life after death. Is there life after death? Or does it all turn black?
Three stories from three countries explore this theme. In San Franciso we meet George Lonegan, played by Matt Damon, who can speak to the dead. "A curse," he calls it, while his brother, played by Jay Mohr sees it as a "gift" that can make money. In France, we get to know Marie LeLay (Cécile De France) who survived a tsunami that opens the film, and through her near death experience, she begins to question life and what she felt. And when she asks questions she is met with walls as nobody wants to talk about death. And finally in England, a young boy, a twin, dies, and his brother, Marcus, is left alone, lost and confused without him.
Eventually all stories will connect at the end, and I liked how they were told. When I felt tired with one story line, it would then jump to another one. Good timing and editing. Could it be slow? Sure. But this is a film that you have to pay attention to. It's not the best film about death and the after life. It's slow and methodical. I did go in with low expectations because of previous reviews, so that perhaps is a reason why I liked it. I didn't have anything to lose. I was also pleasantly surprised by Damon's storyline and how it plays out with Bryce Dallas Howard's character. I won't give it away, but it doesn't turn out the way you'd expect. I liked that. I also think that Cecile De France is wonderful and I hope to see her in more films.
I didn't know much going in when I went to see this film. I wanted it that way. I find, too often, that I know way too much about a film before I even see it. I'm glad I had fresh eyes for this one. It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the story of 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist, looking a bit like a young Keanu Reeves) who suffers from depression and voluntarily checks himself into a psych ward in an involuntary kind of way. Before he knows it, he's locked up in the adult ward, due to renovations in the other ward. He just wanted some drugs to feel better and maybe stay a few hours, but soon realizes that he's there for a minimum of 5 days since he's suicidal. In the ward, he meets a cast of characters ranging from an Egyptian roommate who won't leave his room, a teen girl who cuts herself, a Hasidic Jew with uber-sensitive hearing, and of course his sort of mentor, Bobby, played with subtle charm and sorrow by Zach Galifianakis.
It's a coming-of-age tale set in one location but feels larger than that. Craig learns that his problems are not as bad as others, but they still need to be dealt with. His journey is relatable and connects to an audience, at least to me. The movie isn't laugh out loud slapstick funny. The humor comes from the characters being real and that's what makes this film likable. It doesn't talk down to us. I think the reason for that is the film is based on a true story, a memoir by Ned Vizzini who, as a teen, spent time in a psych ward.
Zach Galifianakis really does a great job with his role. He isn't his funny, over the top self. He's understated in a good way. He made me really believe that he's mentally ill, and filled with sadness, the kind that just won't ever go away no matter what the outside situation is. I felt for him, without feeling sorry for him.
It's a sweet, little film. Catch it in the theatres, if not then rent it one day. I think it's worth a look.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I came across this movie via friends, (Yes! Even this old spinster has friends whom she hangs out with sometimes) and they raved about this movie. The title alone made me think of a bad B movie with porno connotations. Boy! Was I wrong! This film is campy, funny, with high production values, and a whole lot of fun! It might be considered a poor man's "shaun of the dead", but it has its own merits.
The plot is silly, and sort of inconsequential. There's something about a blood line curse, virgins, on their 18th birthday in a particular village who turn into lesbian vampires, a guy who gets dumped by his bitchy girlfriend and hot German tourists, oh and stopping the resurrection of the head lesbian vampire who was killed hundreds of years ago. Like I said, the plot is inconsequential, but still needed to kind of understand to enjoy the silliness of it all. We pretty much follow Fletch and Jimmy as they head out of London (it's a British film so right off the bat, it's been elevated in status, accents have that affect) and head into the country, to get away from it all as Jimmy, has once again been dumped. Anyway, once in the village, they meet some hot german gals in tight clothing and head into a cabin. Then, well, stuff happens, and Jimmy and Fletch have to fight off the vampires. And they do so with comic flair and a foul tongue.
For a film entitled, Lesbian Vampire Killers, I expected more boobs. There wasn't much. Lots of heavy breathing, kissing here and there, but nothing offensive. It just adds to the ridiculousness of it all.
I'm now a fan of the director, Phil Clayton, and screenwriters, Stewart Williams & Paul Hupfield, who share a similar sense of humor with me. I look forward to seeing more of their offerings.
So just in time for Halloween, go out and rent, Lesbian Vampire Killers, you don't have to be gay or straight, or even have a pulse to enjoy it, you just need to know that a vampire killing sword with a handle the shape of a cock is funny!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Why I won't go see the film, Life as We Know It (I'd rather let Fergie punch me in the face with her shoe)
There is poop on her face. Baby poop on her cheek. That scene alone keeps me away. If that's the kind of humor that this film is showcasing then I say "no, thanks!" and this coming from a poop and fart joke kind of spinster. Sigh. How can an intelligent character not know she has poop on her face? And how is this in anyway original, it's in every freaking movie that involves a baby and inept parents.
The title is boring and unoriginal. It's a song lyric, an old tv show, it says nothing about what the film is about. The trailer has nothing new about it. There wasn't one original line of dialogue or scene. Every cliché ever created for that genre was evident. And I like clichés when they serve a purpose. This film is for the Mini Van Majority or are they a Minority? I do not fit into that demographic. It looks like those Soccer Moms got a babysitter last weekend and had a girl's night out to see some eye candy (Josh Duwhatever) and laugh at their own baby predicaments (hence the #2 position at the box office). Which is fine, I suppose. I just wish they get a babysitter when indie movies come out.
I am not a fan of Katherine Heigl or Josh Duhamel, in fact, they are two actors that I try to avoid as much as possible. Even the alluring and lovely Christina Hendricks can't make me go see this movie.
I'll be blunt, this film looks Freaking STUPID! Dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. I highly doubt the script, written by Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, has any insight into the human experience or condition. Then again, does it have to? Is it just a mindless romp in the world of domestic bliss? A couple of hours to leave the brain at the door? I'm not against movies like that. I've seen plenty. But for me, for some reason, when it's this genre, that is geared towards women, I take a bit of offense to it because I want more for us, regardless of marital status, career or where we stand on procreation. I want us to not only be entertained, but challenged as well.