Posts tagged movie review

Movie Reviews: Venus in Fur, and My Mistress

So while losers and people with bad taste are out seeing 50 Shades of Grey today, I figured that I’d review some more off the radar slightly kinky films. Both are undoubtedly better than 50 Shades of Grey. I can say this without seeing 50 Shades of Grey, as just about everything else is better than that dumb movie. So let’s get on with the reviews.

Venus in Fur

This film is based on the stage play based on the novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The word “masochist” actually comes from the author’s last name. But let’s get to the plot synopsis.

A stage play based on the novel is in the works, but the director is having trouble finding a woman capable of playing the leading lady. It’s getting late, and he’s just about to head home when a woman arrives very late for auditions. He doesn’t want to let her read, but she begs him and convinces him to give her a shot. It starts out funny, but from there on things get interesting. Slowly she begins taking control of everything while reading her role. She prevents him from going home to his fiance, and seems to know a bit too much about certain things, everything actually. At some point it’s not laughs anymore and surprisingly hot, or possibly still funny depending on your taste (or lack thereof). The ending confused me initially, but after I slept on it and talked about it with a friend I realized what was going on.

The acting was great. Mathieu Amalric is either an amazing actor or a submissive guy in real life, or both. He was able to replicate this look guys get in their eyes when they’re absolutely transfixed by a woman. I’ve never really seen a man do this in a movie before. He was also great at playing a guy who was in denial about what he really wanted, playing off his innermost desires as something else less embarrassing to admit to. And Emmanuelle Seigner did a really good job of playing a manipulative, controlling and possibly crazy woman without coming off as annoying or as a bitch. If I spoke French I could probably better judge their acting, but over all it was very well done. The music was also great and added a lot to the crazy  mind-fuck feel the film had to it.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This:

  • It’s not really a true rendition of the novel, it’s a movie about the play of a play about the novel.
  • The ending confused me for about a day.
  • As great as Mathiew Amalric performance was, I didn’t find him that attractive.
  • If you haven’t read the novel, you probably won’t appreciate this film as much as you would, had you read the novel.
  • The director, Roman Polanski, is a rapist. Just getting the word out about that since these days everyone only seems to be talking about Bill Cosby.

However, I will add that the ending was much more satisfying than the end of the novel. I found this movie enjoyable overall, but feel bad recommending it because the director is a scumbag.

My Mistress

This is an Australin indie film about the odd relationship between an older teenage boy, Charlie, and an older French-Australian woman, Maggie. (I’m presuming Charlie’s character was of the legal age to consent in Australia, but I’m not quite sure). It starts off with Charlie discovering that his father’s killed himself right around Christmas (but it’s the summer since they’re in Australia), he seems to have a shaky relationship with his mother, plus he has the idiot teenage boy thing going on. After he sees his mom making out with his father’s best friend at his father’s funeral he flips out. Then he takes a job as a gardener at a house down the road for Maggie, a professional dominatrix. He’s overly curious about the BDSM lifestyle and “convinces” her to let him take part in it. The film also goes into Maggie’s past a little bit, it seems child services have her young son because she had a drug problem in the past. She’s sobered up and is working to get custody back.

What I found the most odd about this movie is that Charlie isn’t really a submissive guy. He was manipulative and had several angsty teenage tantrums. Instead of being polite about getting Maggie to whip him, he breaks into her house, handcuffs himself, and refuses to spit the key out of his mouth until she makes him do so.  It was more like he was curious about BDSM and wanted to do whatever he had to experience it. I didn’t think it’d be like that from the trailer. On a positive note, unlike the 50 Shades series, the movie did at least imply continuing to beat someone after they’ve used the safeword is wrong.

This was more of a story about two messed up individuals dealing with issues and trying to ease their pain by using each other. It’s not like the first half hour of The Graduate, and they’re not really a couple I could ship, despite them having some happy moments together.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • The relationship was kind of messed up, but I think that’s what they were going for.
  • The trailer was kind of misleading.
  • I would’ve liked if they went more into Maggie’s backstory, we didn’t really get that much. They also didn’t make it seem like she liked or disliked her job at all, or if she got anything out of it besides money.
  • The ending was reasonable given the story, but it was just meh.
  • Again, Charlie wasn’t actually a submissive guy. A true submissive guy is supposed to put his dom/domme’s wants ahead of his own, Charlie was pretty selfish most of the time. And he never got his rude behavior beaten out of him.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend this or not. It was nice to see something different, but it wasn’t especially amazing.

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Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a retelling of a traditional Japanese folk tale, sometimes called The Bamboo-Cutter’s Daughter, in the wonderful way only Studio Ghibli can do.

I remember first hearing about the folk tale on an episode of Ancient Alines, which prompted me to look up and read the actual story. It starts when a bamboo-cutter finds a glowing stalk of bamboo. He decided to cut it and found a miniature girl inside, since he and his wife weren’t able to have children they saw her as a blessing and raised her as their own. The bamboo-cutter finds more glowing stalks of bamboo that have small gold nuggets inside them, and uses the money to provide for her. As she grows older she gets extremely beautiful, and even though they try to keep her sheltered in the mountains, word of her beauty spreads and five princes show up at once to propose. She sends all of them on “impossible” tasks to delay getting married. Then at some point she gets depressed and finally reveals she remembers she was from the Moon and sent to Earth as a punishment, or for some other purpose. What comes next differs in different versions of the myth, sometimes she would have married one of the suitors, and gives him a potion for immortality before she’s taken back to the Moon by her people and forgets her time on Earth. The prince burns it because he’d rather die than live without her. They say the smoke can still be seen today (Mt. Fuji was more active back in the day). In other versions she didn’t want to marry anyone and leaves after both her parents die because she was sent to take care of them. And in other versions despite her parents trying to protect her, she is taken back to the Moon against her will leaving her parents in tears.

I learned they were making a movie after reading the myth, and couldn’t wait to see it. Then I was informed that it would be premiering on October 17th at a booth in NYCC, so Scott and I decided to get tickets for that Friday 🙂

I won’t say which version Studio Ghibli adhered most strongly too, but I will say that I was happy they didn’t Disneyfy the ending. They gave Princess Kaguya a personality along with hopes and dreams that made her relate-able as an almost real person, but that’s exactly what anyone should expect from Studio Ghibli. They did have her parents choose to make her a princess instead of keeping her sheltered, like in most versions I’ve read of the myth, because they believe it’s what’s best for her and what will bring her happiness. But she’d rather be free than confined to the life of a Japanese noblewoman. The artwork got noticeably different when her emotions become more intense, and it added a lot to the film. Movies like this are what animation as an art form is meant to be. I won’t say much more as I don’t want to spoil the ending, but this is definitely worth seeing, even if you have to trek into some special indie theater. And now reasons…

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • I had travel into the land of hipsters to see it.
  • It was kind of expensive because I was in the land of hipsters
  • One of her childhood friends turns out to be kind of a huge jerk later in the story. (Spoiler)Basically he’s willing to abandon all of his responsibilities (his own child included) for Kaguya.
  • The sense of mystery towards the end was frustrating, but the myth is like that too, so the movie can’t really be blamed.

But those reasons really aren’t much, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it if you want to see something different that’s beautiful and makes you feel.

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Review: Prometheus

I saw Prometheus this weekend. I was really excited for it. This movie is supposed to be the prequel to Alien, and I loved Alien. I also loved Alien vs. Predator and Predator. All of those movies were great.

I am sad to say Prometheus was not. The plot had a lot of potential, but it moved at a slow pace and was lacking good action scenes. It just wasn’t scary enough for me. And at times it felt a lot like a cheap version of Alien. It had it’s share of cool parts, but they weren’t tied together well. Which bring me to something else.

The movie’s “origin” story, creates inconsistencies with the movie Alien vs. Predator. In that movie, they say Predator had the alien aliens captive back in ancient times, bred them/incubated them in humans and hunted them for fun. But in Prometheus the story’s a bit different. I won’t go into detail since it’s revealed at the end of the movie.

Anyway, I’d give this movie 2.5/5. Maybe see it if you can get a cheap matinee, otherwise wait for it to come out on dvd.

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Review: 21 Jump Street and Wrath of the Titans

Review: 21 Jump Street

I hadn’t really been to the movies in a while and the other weekend Scott and I decided to see something. We decided on 21 Jump Street because it looked pretty funny and I had seen some of the original TV series.

The movie wasn’t really like the TV series at all. The TV show was more of a stupid teen show that has the ability to suck you in but in the end you still know that it’s stupid… kind of like a lamer version of Law and Order. The movie was stupid funny. It was almost as if it was about the cops from Superbad going undercover in a high school. Basically you have two guys who didn’t get along in high school (one was a nerd, one was a stupid cool kid) but afterwards they end up becoming cops and best friends. After screwing up as normal cops, they’re sent to work undercover, because they still “look young” (no they do not), and investigate drugs. I won’t reveal anymore but it’s super hilarious. It’s possibly one of the stupidest movies I’ve seen and I’d pay to see it again (matinee price anyway).

They even sort of paid tribute to the TV series in their own weird way. You wouldn’t be able to pick up on it if you haven’t watched it, but you’d still find those parts funny. Johnny Depp even made a cameo appearance 😀

awwwwww yeah, young Johnny Depp FTW!

For those of you that don’t know, he was in the original. He also hated being in it. He did crazy stuff like setting his underwear on fire on the set to get them to kick him out before his contract expired he hated it so much. I won’t reveal what exactly Johnny Depp does in the movie, but its completely unexpected.

I’d have to say the only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the excessive use of foul language. But other than that, it was awesome! It was even perfectly set up for a sequel… which I really hope they make.

Review: Wrath of the Titans

WORST MOVIE EVER

I didn’t see this in 3D, but even if I did it still would have sucked. This movie totally sucked. I didn’t think it would be great but I didn’t think it would fail as hard as it did. I cannot fathom how anyone would even be willing to finance this piece of garbage.

I won’t even go into the story because it sucked so hard and was inaccurate. I mean they made Chronos the bad guy, totally ignored that Hades was divided into 3 parts, that Hades wan’t a bad guy… and I’m going to stop now. But the inner Latin student in me was pissed. This movie would be great on Mystery Science Theater 3000 though. The best part of watching the movie was some of the jokes we were cracking during it, what you see in the poster is Perseus clearly using an electric attack on a ground type. Noob.

tl;dr

21 Jump Street is awesome. Go see it. Don’t waste your money on Wrath of the Titans, it sucks. Instead, see 21 Jump Street for a second time.

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Review: Forks Over Knives

I first heard of this movie when I went to NYC’s first annual vegetarian food festival  way back in March. I was told it was a documentary about the benefits of a plant based diet. I finally got the chance to watch it when my dad found it on Netflix, we watched it and I thought it was very interesting.

The first thing I liked about the movie is that I don’t think they ever said the word “vegetarian.” “Vegan” was said only once, by a man being interviewed.What they do say many, many times is “a whole foods plant based diet.” It’s essentially a vegan diet but not in the way you’d think, no refined anything, no processed anything. That means all of those processed vegan meats and other processed vegan garbage is out.

They approach they used was research based. It was about two doctors and what they saw in their studies. One thing they found was that protein from animal sources can trigger cancer, eliminating it or greatly reducing it can reverse the cancer. They had a record of deaths occurring in a country in Europe due to heart disease (I forget which). Anyway, during WWII the Germans took all their livestock to feed the army and the people were pretty much forced to eat a plant based diet. During this time the number of deaths from heart disease dropped significantly, and after the war they went back up to their previous levels. Mostly they talk about the impact of the western diet vs. a whole foods plant based diet has in regards to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They spoke with a woman who reversed her diabetes with the diet as well as a woman who reversed breast cancer with it.

What I found interesting was the athlete and group of firemen they spoke with. The athlete said he initially gave up dairy because of an allergy but then decided to give up chicken and fish to see how it’d go. He found that it worked great and he looks like he’s in excellent shape. The group of firemen started the diet after learning that one of their own had an insanely high cholesterol… it was in the 300’s, but dropped over 100 points after 3 weeks of being on a plant based diet. They also said about half of firefighter fatalities are due to heart disease, something that’s so easily preventable with diet. Keeping firefighters not only helps them, but everyone else who depends on them.

There were a few things the movie didn’t really touch on that much, like why they didn’t use oil, or why fish is bad. They didn’t really touch on all of the contamination in animal products. They didn’t give any recipes, and it seems that they were just eating salads. However, the film’s website does offer recipes. If you’re squeamish I recommend watching with someone who is not. Ask them to tell you when to open your eyes since there are numerous clips of surgery footage, mostly for surgery related to heart disease.

I’d recommend this movie to anyone interested in medicine, health or just improving their life.  I enjoyed it and thought it was very interesting. I personally could relate to it because I’m trying to improve my own health right now by changing my diet. One thing I’ll say about changing your diet for the better is that I didn’t expect it to be empowering at all. I gained control of my life when I began saying “no” to the processed foods I had developed low grade addictions to.  At first I was hoping it would be temporary but now I have no problem giving up the crap I used to eat forever if it means I’ll continue to feel great. It’s renewed the hope I have of arriving at the day when I’m able to go off my medication and live a Crohn’s-free healthy life.

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Winnie The Pooh, Horrible Bosses and Captain America

Time for another movie post!

Winnie The Pooh was a fairly cute movie. It was also pretty short being slightly longer than an hour. I think this movie would be awesome for little kids. Parts of it amused me but I found that other parts kind of dragged on. Basically the movie consists of Eeyore losing his tail, everyone thinking a monster has kidnapped Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh wanting honey.

In short, Horrible Bosses was hilarious and I liked it better than The Hangover. The premises was really funny, I mean the bosses in this movie were really really bad. I loved all of the acting, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey in particular were awesome. My only complaint was that they didn’t need to swear as much as they did in that movie. I mean it may have even gotten away with being PG-13 if they cut out some of the swearing. I’ve noticed this is something they like to do more and more in R rated comedies, they’re funny, but to me its always a sign of a lack of creativity when they throw in tons of swear words.

Moving on to Captain America. I enjoyed this movie, but as always I have my complaints.

Complaint #1: Bucky was supposed to be a kid not a grown man (I admit that I did not read the comics, but this is one thing that I know and my inner comic book geek is slightly pissed)

Complaint #2: I wanted to leave the movie with a strong feeling of patriotism. I did not leave the theater with the feeling I wanted.

Complaint #3: Not enough shots of Captain America’s behind, though no women were exploited in this film so I do suppose they were being fair.

Complaints aside, the costumes were great. I could easily see the costumes in that movie looking really tacky, but they fit the 1940’s feel perfectly. The other thing I loved in this movie was Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of Red Skull.  Though I wish they had just kept him as a Nazi and didn’t do all of that crap to tie the Captain America story into the Thor and Iron Man stories. I get that they wanted to do that to make the upcoming Avengers film make more sense, but I wanted to see Nazis getting their butts kicked. What I’d really have loved is to see Captain America kill Hitler. Oh well, at least I have Inglorious Basterds for that. I’d still recommend this movie though. Just don’t go in wanting to feel all pro-America afterwards and stay for the Avengers trailer at the end of the credits.

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Bad Teacher Review

When I first saw previews for this movie, I thought it would be bad. I thought it would be another vulgar comedy spewed out of whatever the hell Hollywood “thinks” the lives of teachers are like. I also had in my mind that whoever decided to make this movie needed to be slapped because of all of the shit teachers are dealing with now. After all the news makes teachers seem like the bad guys and I feel that a lot of people don’t have much respect for teachers and just see them as people with low-level jobs who don’t have to work hard because they get the summers off.

Another reason I didn’t want to see it is because I don’t like Cameron Diaz or Justin Timberlake. On talk shows she comes off as a complete ditz and he comes off as an asshole.

Anyway, since I work at a movie theater I had the option to walk in on this movie for about 20 minutes during one of my breaks. I did so out of curiosity. The first time I walked in on it, it met my expectations of being Hollywood’s dumb idea of what teaching is. The second time I walked in on it, it was insanely hilarious. In short, I saw Justin Timberlake jizz in his pants. It made me decide to see this movie for free.

After seeing this movie, I have to say that it was pretty funny although 90% of the shit that went on in the movie would have landed all of the teachers in the rubber room. I mean they had teachers casually using drugs in the gym during a school dance and *not* get caught. There are always roaming kids at these events, I doubt that no one would’ve caught them. There were several instances where they were being not politically correct. If teachers aren’t politically correct at all times, they’ll have so much shit thrown at them its not even funny. Then there was the part of the movie where Cameron Diaz is being a total skank at the school car wash. I was told that as a student teacher, I can’t wear low-cut tops or tight clothing. Seriously, the crap they did in that movie could never fly in the real world. I could only see it ending in sexual harassment lawsuits, drug lawsuits and the rubber room. They also cast math in a negative light in one part of the movie, with no math teachers present to defend it.

Despite everything I said, this movie was pretty funny. And even though I can’t stand Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake when they’re not acting, they both did a good job in this movie. In particular Justin’s character was extremely pathetic in a super hilarious way… I have trouble putting it into words almost. A lot of the other actors in the movie were also really funny.

In the end, I liked this movie but I’m glad I got to see it for free since it did partly bother me and since I don’t like Diaz or Timberlake. I’d say that it was funnier than Hangover 2, since its focus was more on comedy than the shock factor. It’s a good movie if you’re looking for a few laughs, but please keep in mind that practically all of the nonsense that takes place is that movie would *never* fly in the real world.

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