Warm Bodies

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Lil Fatass: Did we really need another zombie movie?

Yolkie: Hell naw. but they were at least trying to do something different here.

LFA: Finish this sentence for me:  Warm Bodies is better than Twilight because…

Y: Because Twilight takes itself way too seriously.  Warm Bodies knows that zombies are stupid and need to be made fun of.  But the problem with both is that love conquers all.  That’s a problem.

LFA: The world of Warm Bodies is one of segregation and military dictatorship, is this a commentary on the war in Afghanistan?

Y: Very astute observation.   Terrorists just need to learn human love.  In order to do that, they need to befriend a human and then find a common enemy, like maybe a shark.

LFA: Dave Franco is very quietly becoming a big star.  Do you think this is warranted?

Y: Absolutely, my panties would hit the ground with a force greater than Thor.

LFA: The music in Warm Bodies seemed good, a little too good.

Y:  That depends who you are.  If you are a skinny white teenager it would be aces.

LFA: I just saw the Swedish House Mafia last night, it seems like if I was a zombie, that would be my zombie preference.

Y: I was there too, and I didn’t see many zombies there, maybe zero zombies.  Just a lot of 19 year old kids with furry hats and masks.

LFA: I had sex with a zombie.

Y: How was it?

LFA: The zombie butthole is looser than you might think.

LFA: Nicholas Hoult, better performance in Warm Bodies or A Single Man?

Y: A Single Man, but it’s hard compare because that movie so much better and so many fewer zombies.

LFA: I thought the last scene in the film was an allusion to Fight Club.

Y: Interesting, I thought that it was a reference to the Berlin Wall, with Bonies as the new Nazis and the zombies are like the homosexuals.

The Lorax

The Lorax (film)

The Lorax (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched the Lorax on the big screen

time passed with laughter and screams

Ok maybe not screams, but it was pure delight

I urge you all to see it tonight.

Rhyming aside, Illumination film’s take on the Lorax extends beyond the book, and though Danny Devito does nothing to cover up his gruff voice, that reminded me back when he was a taxi cab driver, it was a lot of fun and if nothing else, imparted a good message to the young impressionable boys and girls, of how precious our earth is, and how easily consumerism and capitalism can ruin the fluffy truffula trees and de-fluff the cute little bears.

discover the forest lorax

discover the forest lorax (Photo credit: USDAgov)

I think this is a fabulous movie to watch with little kids, they’ll go gaga over the cute characters, though maybe not the best movie for a date.  It’s pretty much in line with what you’d expect as a follow up for Despicable Me, not quite a good and funny, but still enjoyable….$7

If you heart The Lorax

Recommendations from …:
Hop

Despicable Me
Toy Story

Another Earth

Another Earth. A brilliant concept for a movie.  A sci-fi masked in real-life drama.  It is writer/director Mike Cahill’s first full-length non-documentary feature – and it felt like it.  The preview reveals too much, but essentially the film is about a young woman and middle aged man whose lives have been devastated by death.  Overlaying this drama is first contact with Earth 2, a visible replica of Earth, where a parallel universe exists.  This sci fi concept hangs in the background.  It’s not the main focus, but it lurks in the sky as a constant reminder.  Another Earth has wonderful ideas, some which are beautifully executed, others which looked like it was someone’s first stab behind the camera.

What I mean is, the music was oftentimes intrusive, trying too hard to evoke a particular feeling.  There were a few too many close-ups of tears or displays of self-conscious art.  Sometimes, I could feel the people acting, a sure mood-killer.  There was very little dialogue throughout the movie.  It’s fitting, because the two main characters are so emotionally crippled they can no longer communicate with people.  I can easily be bored by slow-moving stories, but the lack of dialogue didn’t slow down the story for me.

Boy, did Brit Marling (as Rhoda) deliver an impressive performance.  I like the way she looks and talks.  I hope to see more of her.  As for William Mapother (as John Burroughs), I’d say I’ve seen enough, thank you.  If you find yourself watching it, and you’re not impressed, you should at least stay for the ending.

This movie isn’t for everybody.  It was for me, though… $7

If you heart Another Earth:

Recommendations from Yolkie:
Moon
Rabbit Hole
District 9

Stephen Anderson & Don Hall’s Winnie the Pooh

Winnie smells Oscar blood. He smells it like a wounded animal. Or a botched diaper someone forgot to lock in the steel, bear-proof drum. He smells that Oscar diaper. And it is pungent. It is as though its owner ate nothing but KFC extra-diarrhea hot for a month, then pulled a Lisa Nowak, driving across country, saving up her radioactive diarrhea in a single, panty-shaped Tupperware stinking with jealousy and mental illness. Winnie has an incredibly keen sensibility for fortune arriving around the corner. He is practically a fortune teller of diaper contents and Oscar nominations.

Winnie transformed his body for this role. Formerly a chiseled, 7-foot-high, stage-racing bicyclist – he spent two years on the Dungeons & Dragons circuit to perfect the sallow complexion, gnarled teeth, and the flabby, unappealing physique. He removed twenty-six bones from his legs and lower torso and crushed the digits in his hands until they resembled webbed, hand-like patties. He reviewed hundreds of other films portraying diverse species of retard such as I Am Sam, Forrest Gump, Of Mice and Men, Rain Man, Billy Madison, and pretty much anything involving Jack Black.

He is a perfect embodiment of the original Pooh-bear (the original-original having died of diabetes during the 1980s). But he is actually cold and ambitious on the inside. Despite the frumpy and child-like exterior, he is a soulless and carnivorous beast. He wants that Oscar. He is willing to kill people for it (including Piglet). He is willing to do blowjobs. He is willing to sneak into your house wearing a ski mask and steal your most beloved stuffed animal. Then collage a ransom note using various unidentifiable magazines and include it with a Polaroid of your stuffed animal crying and holding up the daily paper. His ambition makes for a bold and gritty performance. Every emotional tenor is struck to perfection – sadness, happy, empty belly. He transforms into the epitome of faithful, selfless friend. No easy feat for a man with no friends, caring for no person, and living in Superman’s ice castle.

I say he deserves the Oscar. And I’m not just saying so because he stole my Tickle Me Elmo and has been mailing me his red fluff for a week. I’m saying that because it’s the gosh-damn truth. No one could embody more Pooh than this Pooh. He is the lord of the Pooh order. Also some very sweet and pretty songs by the lovely wife of the guy from Death Cab for Cutie . . . $7

If you heart Winnie the Pooh:

Recommendations by Cheet Cheet
Ponyo
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
A Goofy Movie

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

Bridesmaids

Funny movie.  I laughed out loud a few more times than I expected to.  Judd Apatow strikes again in his Superbad and 40 year old virgin style of raunchy comedies with Bridesmaids.  However, was it really as good as female version of Superbad or 40 year old virgin?  not quite….I agree with the other review re: Rotten Tomatoes.  There’s something wrong with the methodology of just allowing for Yes-Fresh and No-Rotten out of all the reviewers, then compiling them to figure out what the percentage is.  I mean, nearly 90% fresh for fast five in the first week?  even 89% fresh for bridesmaids? really?

Oh the genius of Kristen Wiig.  She can be so charming and believable and awkward and funny all in the same 20 minutes.  I really liked her as a character even with all her crazy-person flaws…..You know Loren Michaels, who produces Saturday Night Live, once said she was the one of the top 3 or 4 performers of all time for SNL.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out here.

Favorite parts of the movie were actually Melissa McCarthy, who plays Megan, one of the bridesmaids, and Rebel Wilson, Annie (Kristin Wiig)’s insane roommate.  Incredibly funny, definitely stole some of the best moments of the film.

All in all, a good enjoyable flick, probably the best comedy I’ve seen in a while….$7

If you heart Bridesmaids:

Recommendations by …
Pineapple Express
40 Year Old Virgin
Superbad

Win Win

As I promised in my review for Barney’s Version, I went out to see Win Win with my new found interest in Paul Giamatti.  He didn’t disappoint me either, supported by a network of rich characters.  Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent and The Visitor set me up for something spectacular.  Was it spectacular?  No, but it was entirely enjoyable and left me satisfied with a good concoction of humor and warm fuzzies.  It’s important to know that Win Win didn’t abandon common sense in order to contrive its feel-good moments.  It felt honest.  Tom McCarthy has demonstrated the ability to write in enough complexity and flaws into his characters to create sincere connections amongst his characters that don’t require cheap happy endings for warm fuzzies.

Jackie (Amy Ryan) is the wife of Mike (Paul Giamatti) and mother of two girls.  Rather than simply a sounding board to the central male protagonist, Jackie is a separate force of spunk and integrity.  Leo (Burt Young) and Terry (Bobby Cannavale) are delightful side characters that offer lots of comic relief in the somber story of ordinary folk.  Kyle (Alex Shaffer), a troubled teenage boy, falls into the hands of Mike, a struggling small town attorney and an even worse-off high school wrestling coach.  As anticipated by the trailers, Kyle turns out to be a remarkable wrestler.  As exciting as wrestling can be (I have no idea what that feels like), this movie isn’t the one to showcase its awesomeness.  It’s not really about the sport, or the game.  In other words, I wouldn’t get your hopes up for a heroic showdown of squirming prepubescent boys.  Overall, a pretty good film.  Do you need to go see it?  No, but if you’ve got a few dollars around and would like to treat yourself for a couple hours, go on ahead… $7

Recommendations from Yolkie:

The Station Agent
Sideways
The Fighter

127 Hours

I thought wuz kinda sum pussy-ass sheet. Weaksauce son! I saw Black Swan earlier thiz week and that bizniz wuz intense as a muthafucka. I cried son! Twice and then hid in the closet! Damn if you want a watch some nightmarish as hail, thriller-ass, lezbian drama you gotza watch Black Swan. That ship got deep dawg. Natalie Portnoy – damn that chick got straight-up mentally ill!! Hotter than hail too tho all anorexic and shit – not usually into that!! Mila Kunis too aye! yai! yai!!

Not 127 Hours tho all the color drained out my nuts on this one. Furst ya’ll James Franco should not be in this shit. I’ve sized that nigga up and he would mos def not have tha sack to do this. Franco is a writer and a poet and sculptor and all sorts of gay shit. No man who writes poetry has the fuckin inner chi, the inner cojones to cut they own arm off. Franco should stick to comedy and Gucci commercials yo. I mean he wuz good in Milk but what actor can’t play a gay guy – the squirrel doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Secondary – I’m axing myself why dit I just pay ten dollar to watch a guy stuck in a boulder for two hours. Cuz he cut his arm off at the vary end? O Hail No this shit did not warrant a movie about some hippie fo sho!! Maybe like a segment on YouTube. Some Double Rainbow kind of attention. But Danny Boyle you should know better I mean didn’t you do Slumdog? Slumdog bitch! Yo watching your talent here. Better than Harry Potter but not near as good as Black Swan holla . . . $7

Entre Nos

O Entre Nos! You are a noble film. How often do you see films about poverty and immigration? Marginalization? Ethnic identity? You would think the current depression might spark an interest. But that is a false assumption. The American audience is far more interested in ignoring problems than in confronting them. Take as evidence a brief list of the current films on the market – The Twilight Sage: Eclipse, The Last Airbender, Knight and Day, The A-Team, Iron Man 2, etc. etc. Every one either a fairy tale or an action movie. These are for all-intensive purposes jack-off pictures. Jack-off casts. Jack-off digital fx. Jack-off pyrotechnics. All jack-off misdirections to numb the audience before they realize the movie has no original ideas.

I’m as guilty as anyone. I’m kind of a jack-off. Who wouldn’t rather cream their pants with spectacle instead of watching something that could make you confront something moral or horrific? But this is a redundant, unsurprising observation.

The surprising, delightful element is your local independent movie house that could be playing Entre Nos. Entre Nos! O you are truly arresting! An investigation of what an immigrant family will bear in isolation from any social services or resource. You are courageous! You are frightening! I feel excited that high caliber artists are still signing on for projects that emerge out of identity, family and community. Even if the finished product isn’t as slick as all the fairy-tales out there . . . $7

If you heart Entre Nos:

Recommendations by DJ Cheet
Peter Bratt’s La Mission
The Pursuit of Happyness
Hirokazu Koreeda’s Nobody Knows

And though it’s not a movie . . . The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (book) by Francisco Jimenez

Shrek Forever After

O Shrek Forever After I had very low expectations for you indeed. I did not even see Shrek the Third. Was it good? I was growing tired of you. Your swollen, green faces. Your fetish for inter-species romance. Your asshole donkey that will not shut his mouth. Will not stop his asshole singing. Damn I hate that donkey.

But Shrek Forever After you surprised me! You attached a time limitation to your narrative. I love time limitations! How did you know? How elegant you are – taking place in the span of 24-hours. How wonderful your illustrations and montages that contextualize the narrative. You are no bore – you are ingenious! Shrek the Third is now a promising possibility.

And your franchise is over! I cannot say I am sad to see you go. But I’m glad you went out like this. I’m glad we did not part on sour terms . . . $7

Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control

is philosophically rich – probably one reason why the film did so poorly in the economic sense.

No doubt the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen all year. Jim Jarmusch made the right decision in asking Christopher Doyle (longtime collaborator of Wong Kar-wai) to shoot his film. However, it seems like Jarmusch may have given himself too many artistic limits in making this piece. I sense a lot of resistance – resistance against dialogue, resistance against clear narrative or resolution, resistance against character development.

It is as though we are only perceiving characters in the most ephemeral instant and only when they are on the verge of transformation. Characters do not progress, they impress (as in, leave a vague impression of a thought or idea). This may have been a deliberate choice since portraiture is a recurring motif in the film. And that is what we indeed seem to get – a sketch of a character as opposed to a case study. Or maybe it was Jarmusch’s goal to impart a vivid impression with the sparest encounters. On that level, he’s wildly successful. On other levels I think he withholds too much and his film starves. But I should probably also add The Limits of Control contains the best nude scenes I’ve watched in several years. Paz de la Huerta becomes a goddess. Jarmusch is expert at creating new goddesses . . . $7

If you heart The Limits of Control:

Recommendations from DJ Cheet
Mulholland Drive
Hana-bi
The Man Who Wasn’t There


Vincere

One of the strangest and most aggressively fragmented films I’ve watched this year – Vincere follows Benito Mussolini’s mistress Ida Dalser through her decline. Very little screen time is paid to the affair itself. The majority of the film is spent wandering  the psychiatric wards where Dalser was kept captive for the latter half of her life. The primary focus of Vincere is Dalser’s obsession with Mussolini despite his indifference and eventual abhorrence towards her.

Dalser’s irrational reverence and dedication to Mussolini could be gesturing towards a commentary on Il Duce’s followers over the course of National Fascism in Italy. The metaphor is made richer by Dalser’s conception of Mussolini’s first-born son (Benito Albino, who also perishes in the captivity of a mental hospital). The film is well-acted (Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi deserve all the accolades they are getting) and imaginatively-conceived. Animations, historical footage and a musical score that assaults the ears combine in a fascinating collage of a movie. My main concern is that it just isn’t so pleasurable to watch. Trying to tell Fascist Italy’s story through the keyhole of Ida Dalser’s life suffocates the film. And without much levity, Vincere is likely to run an audience’s mood into the ground. Still, if you’re in the market for some novel film making, you aren’t going to find much better this week . . . $7

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