Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris

Nobody likes you Owen Wilson go away you’re stupid! You’re annoying, no one likes yr face. It is too surprised and Jewish. Too incredulous. You are Cameron Diaz but worse because there is a strong possibility you are hiding a penis. Cameron Diaz may be hiding a penis but that is only a slight possibility. It seems like if she did have a penis she would at least be funny. But now yr stupid-ass Cameron Diaz comparison is getting me off topic.

Midnight in Paris is the sort of film a director makes toward the end of his career when he wants to commune with all his heroes. In my opinion no one does this better or more lovingly than Woody Allen – a guy completely unashamed to share his most precious influences (i.e. where he has been stealing from). Ingmar Bergman for ex. Or in the case of Midnight – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso . . . Allen is a director with balls enough to blatantly imitate and physically embody his idols as a form of praise. No one re-exhumes the dead like he can.

Allen has also be known to heap praise upon the cities he is shooting. Midnight makes an argument for Paris as utterly wonderful which I find admirable since I always envisioned Paris as having nothing but that rich food and heavy sauces, sidewalks littered with dog shit, and snooty people. Allen uses the landscape of Paris to his advantage, cramming the message that the city is chock-full with gorgeous art and architecture. Easy to forget having no geography, easy to forget to appreciate living in America – the most unabashedly generic nation on earth (esp. between the coasts).

Rachel McAdams is as startlingly beautiful as ever. She has undeniably become one of the great actresses of her generation. Michael Sheen superb as always. Owen Wilson forgettable and unnecessary – a missed opportunity for Allen not to have replaced him with a more interesting actor – I would have gone with James Franco. Younger, funnier and more literate. I’d say the performance of the film belonged to Corey Stoll who created a comical, commanding and charming interpretation of Hemingway.

Not the filet of Allen’s catalog. A little too magical and a little too little at stake. But he still continues to be one of the most ingenious and undeniably the most distinctive filmmaker today . . . $8

If you heart Midnight in Paris:

Recommendations by DJ Cheet
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Steven Shainberg’s Fur
Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People

Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Don’t be worried about watching a documentary on Southern French cave paintings. It is plenty more exciting and strange than that sounds. Firstly, you would imagine that with such old (30,000 years) and scant evidence (a young boy’s footprint, a wolf’s paw print) it would be difficult for Herzog to draw up definitive narrative conclusions, being not an archaeologist or anthropologist himself. But Herzog does what he does best – storytelling aka making wild shit up. He seems to have no problems offering up possibilities for the day-to-day goings-on in the cave.

Vor esample, puhaps da boi an da woolf ver frends, an da boi verz riding za woolf like a haus jockey, an za voolf’s name vuz Albut. An puhaps zey wud go peek mushroom and keel a beavah an eat a beavah an put beavah mask on zey fayce an lauf an lauf. Ah puhaps none of zdat happen an da voolf ate za boi and yuz da boi’s leg like a cane. An maybe da woolf wear za boi’s face like a mask an he lauf an lauf . . . you get the idea. Herzog’s insanity is not annoying however. It’s thoroughly endearing. Unless you believe he has Alzheimer’s. In which case this film is a crushing testament to man in the wake of his dementia.

The scientists also have no problem offering up interpretations of cave paintings that seem to further their own agendas. Such as the old-bag scientist who claimed the lion paintings portrayed a lioness very clearly not interested in sex. Whose face was in fact warped in disgust at the very idea of sex with the lion painted on the opposite wall. I mean, had the lion taken more of an effort to court the lioness (delivered various, precious animal meats for ex.), put more of an effort into foreplay, then maybe. Maybe if he would pay more attention to the brainy lionesses of this world and not their slutty cousins . . . How to determine gender? Well the female lion was clearly the more beautifully outlined and shaded and majestic. The male lion had more teeth missing than a hobo in winter and a clearly delineated wad of scrotums coming out of his butt. An interesting choice of perspective for the painter.

The only moment I was mildly offended by was when an anthropologist gave his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It would be a German who would befoul our national anthem with his bone-flute. Wouldn’t be the first time a German did something uncouth. Did I mention there are albino alligators in this flick? There is plenty to witness other than the oldest human art in existence . . . $7

If you heart Cave of Forgotten Dreams:

Recommendations by DJ Cheet
The Botany of Desire
Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb
Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film

X-Men: First Class


Thrilling.  Entertaining. Thoughtful.  Successful.

This prequel is probably the best I’ve ever seen in a movie series.  Especially, given the last two failures in the X-Men film franchise.  X-Men: First Class is set in the creative context of WWII and the Cold War.  There was a whole lot of set up dedicated to character development and establishing relationships.  Even though this time was taken from action sequences, I appreciated the care placed in the origin story of X-Men.

Even more, the development of the story including Magneto’s experience in the Holocaust and the USA/Soviet show down provided really interesting insight into the rift between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender).  Moreover, Magneto’s story makes you empathize with his future evil self.  You feel moved by his pain and you understand his perspective.  This makes for an interesting villain, although, he’s not really the villain in this story.  But what a great dynamic duo of good and evil.  Magneto and Professor X, first friends, but then dear enemies as a matter of principle.  Even as enemies, they treat each other with mutual respect and civility – I love how complicated it is.

Then there’s the relationship between Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor X – what a beautiful touch.  And oh – Hank McCoy – one of my favorite X-Men.  I was happy to see him materialized onto the screen.  Although Beast wasn’t nearly as handsome as I had hoped.  Sometimes action movie humor really grinds my gears, but these little jokes and cameos (Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman) got me on my good side.

The action sequences are thrilling.  Director Matthew Vaughn had a great vision for the interpretation of the mutant powers – especially the Nazi villain – Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).  We all love to hate the Nazis.  Shaw can suck in nuclear energy and spit it out like fireballs – sweeeet!  I was a little disappointed in Angel Salvadore, Azazel, and Riptide – I wish the villains were more bad ass – but you can’t get everything, right?  And now for some gratuitous eye candy…

X-Men: First Class continues the socially conscious message of the film series that mirrors the Civil Rights Movement, it fits the time period, too.  This prequel showcases the young, teen-like angst of the cause.  These earlier X-Men still struggle with their identity and rebellion, wrestling with the decision to “pass” as “normal” or be proud of who they are (even in blue form).  I like purpose in my action films… $7

If you heart X-Men: First Class:

Recommendations from Yolkie:

Valkyrie
X2: X-Men United
The Dark Knight

Paul Feig & Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids

If you like wasting your money and your life and your brain particles and your soul then you should probably go watch Thor or Priest or the newest iteration in the Pirates franchise. Most adult Americans are severely impaired which is why fairy tale movies are the highest grossing at the box office. Foreigners who keep abreast of our film statistics visit American theaters expecting to see droves of full-grown men and women wearing helmets and diapers and attended by “helpers” – the “helper’s” main duty being to dab drool from an American’s spastic limbs.

But the problem with most Americans is not that they are retarded. The problem is they are misinformed and sometimes Redneck (there are always going to be a few Rednecks to anchor down our curve – that cannot be helped and therefore we shouldn’t apologize for it). A lot of money – billions of dollars in fact – have been spent trying to convince you that Thor and Pirates will satisfy all your entertainment and spiritual needs. But I fail to see how that is even remotely possible. How does the average American, especially one that is fat, unemployed, uneducated, impotent, etc. relate to a viking from outer space who dresses like he is going to Halloween party where he bought both the Tron and Power Rangers costumes? Why do Americans love the idea of pirates? And why is our most beloved interpretation of a pirate a hobo Johnny Depp decked-out in garb from the Renaissance Fair and a bandana he stole from a Mexican basketball player? Real pirates look like Ethiopian rapists because they are. If an Ethiopian rapist and Captain Jack Sparrow ever came face to face I’m pretty sure we know who is taking a walk on the brown side.

This is a ridiculously long tangent to get to why Bridesmaids is the best movie this year so far. Not only because it is the most entertaining film – but because a tremendous sincerity is paid to the treatment of friendship and sex and romance and frankly – the socioeconomic divide. Now I know what some of you are thinking – how can sincerity be paid to the topic of female friendship when we all know attractive women are incapable of maintaining genuine friendships, especially with other women?

First of all – the women in Bridesmaids are not so attractive. I mean they are pretty in that slightly overripe, white-girl way. But now you are thinking – well I even know ugly women who can’t hold down a single true friend. Forget that myth. Forget the trite, unrealistic portrayals of female friendships (i.e. Sex in the City – portrayals probably written by gay guys and women who don’t have any friends) that came before.

Bridesmaids is wholly original in its focus on a competitive but ultimately enduring female camaraderie. And if your friends were as funny or as winning or as fiercely loyal as the ladies here – you would never doubt female friendship again. Kristen Wiig is also the best thing in panties on the big or small screen today . . . $13

If you heart Bridesmaids:

Recommendations by Quispy
Lovely and Amazing
Adventureland
Whip It


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