Upon first viewing of Precious, I was wary that the film might be about spectacle. We are behind the eyes of an obese African American girl. She’s sixteen and still in Junior High School. She’s pregnant with her second child by her biological father. Her first child has Down Syndrome. And her mother mercilessly abuses her (physically, sexually, emotionally, verbally) at every opportunity. She gets kicked out of school. Then they lose their welfare checks. And even before the film steps into the territories of homelessness, joblessness and HIV I began to wonder if the writer was more interested in punishing her heroine than in redeeming her.

But that was on the first viewing, when the shock of all the suffering blinded me to the humor, poetry, the imagination, and incredible craft of the film. I’d also been blind to the humanity behind every character, which I realized on my second viewing, was at the core of Precious. The strength of the human spirit and the unwavering faith in what tomorrow may heal – those ideas (expressed much more eloquently in the film and not in this essay) are what make Precious almost unbearably moving.

You may recognize some household faces in Precious (Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz who do admirable jobs), but the performance that dominates my thinking is the comedian and actress Mo’Nique Imes. I’m certain hers is the best acting performance I’ve seen by a female lead this year.

Even if you fear your stomach will be too weak for this film, go see it anyway. You’ll leave the theater stronger . . . $11.

If you heart Precious:

Recommendations from DJ Cheata
Nobody Knows
Secrets and Lies

Recommendations from Yolkie
Half Nelson

Recommendations from …
The King

New Moon

New Moon was hardly watchable and I almost didn’t get through it.  I once heard Edward Cullen looked like he was jizzing in his pants every time he kissed Bella, I couldn’t get that out of my head.  I don’t blame this person for instilling this image in my head. I blame Edward Cullen. The anguish and desperation of their love is completely unbelievable, therefore, those pained kisses are nothing short of ridiculousness. Look, I didn’t walk into this movie with any expectations, I didn’t expect a delivery of any decent romance. But still… will you marry me? That’s just about the worst ending I could have possibly imagined. And there are a lot of possibilities for terrible endings.

There are many reasons why New Moon is even more unbearable than Twilight. Bella proved to be more unlikeable, still blinking too much, and still undeserving of everyone’s love.  Since she has no qualities to appreciate, except for some silly angst that might resemble mystery to some, it’s hard to understand the possibility for any meaningful connection to anyone else.  Jacob’s transformation into a sullen boy with deep secrets is not only hard to believe, it’s just fucking repetitive. Didn’t we already have this conversation with Edward? What ELSE do you got? Even still, I feel sorry for him and Bella is a heartless wanker.  I’m neither Team Jacob or Team Edward. I’d rather stick pencils in my ears…$3

If you heart New Moon:

Recommendations from Yolkie
Lost Boys
The Craft
An American Werewolf in Paris
Edward Scissorhands
Harry Potter

Recommendations from DJ Cheata
City of Angels
Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

Trailer: New Moon

In Bruges

is my kind movie, which is to say it might not be everyone’s kind of movie (“if you grew up on a farm and you were fucking retarded”). The film makes no apologies for celebrating a blunt, uncouth, un-PC humor. And it doesn’t have to, since art of the highest caliber usually gets away revealing flashes of bigotry.

And did I mention the film’s almost fetishistic attraction to violence, sex and drugs? I know, it’s totally awesome.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression In Bruges is simply an amalgamation of cheap tricks and spectacles however. For cheap (of mind) spectacles watch a Michael Bay or Brett Ratner movie. The film’s writer, Martin McDonagh carefully crafted the morality tale portion of his film to pay comedic and philosophical dividends. Thinly veiled as a hit man, “get the fuck outta Dodge” movie, the characters scamper through a maze of Belgian landscape, ominous fog, ambient piano, pushy tourists, power-tripping merchants, and terrible luck (like, Shakespearean-level-coincidental-shitty-ass luck).

It crossed my mind that In Bruges is also a movie about tourism, though half our pleasure derives from one of our tour guides perpetually insulting the cultural hot spots (and any hankering to visit them). For him, the most exciting big of Bruges is a film set where they’re “filming midgets.” In Bruges is self-deprecating about its genius to the core. Its one meta-moment (the movie’s movie within the movie) stars the most disgruntled, insensitive, midgeted character of them all. The midgeted character is also a midget. Literally. Literally like really, really short. I know, he’s totally awesome.

I feel I’d not be doing my job if I didn’t mention the insanely-good cast attached to In Bruges. But I’m sure IMDB has a page and a trailer to help you with that . . . $10

I wanted all of my recommendations to be movies with at least one midget (does Danny DeVito count as a midget?).

If you heart In Bruges:

Recommendations from DJ Cheata
Death at a Funeral
Bad Santa
Death to Smoochy

And though it’s not a movie . . . It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TV Series)

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