Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love

Woody Allen has some greats, but this is not one of them. Unfortunately, with this talented cast of characters including Roberto Benini, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Paige, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Davis, and Woody Allen – was not enough to make a good movie.  There were four different story lines – all of them loosely connected – but none of them related to each other in any worthwhile way.  In fact, the only story line remotely interesting was the Baldwin/Eisenberg/Paige story.  The others served as non sequitur tangents that filled the time and space with some trivial, less-than-interesting stories.  Each one started with curious promise, but were ultimately failures.


Allen successfully told the Baldwin/Eisenberg/Paige story in an inventive, exciting way. I would have like to have seen more of Baldwin act as a seen/unseen moral compass. Somehow, Allen seamlessly placed an entire walking and talking, yet imaginary, Alec Baldwin into the lives of these young Americans living in Rome. Loved it.

Another well-done feat was placing all the stories in different time lines.  One story, involving a newly married couple starting out in Rome, had a story that ran the course of a day.  At the same time, it parallels another story, the young Americans living in Rome, that covers several weeks. The transition from story to story, despite the time leaps, was flawless.

Those were refreshing techniques in story-telling, but the actual stories themselves lacked substance. Overall, the movie was barely charming, easy enough to watch, but pretty forgetful. Not that funny either. Allen uses quite a bit of slap-stick humor that I can’t say was successful. Given the number of movies that Allen churns out, they can’t all work. This one does not. I do not recommend you spend any money watching it in the theaters… $5

If you heart To Rome With Love

Recommendations from Yolkie:
Happenstance

Melinda and Melinda
Paris, Je T’aime

Ruben Fleischer’s & Michael Diliberti’s 30 Minutes or Less

A comedic rendering of the real-life manipulation and slaying of the pizza-deliver worker Brian Douglas Wells. The characters, motivations and plot devices may seem contrived, overly-complex, but are in fact consistent with the historical event (though the true events were not laughable and totally fucking creepy).

What remains inconsistent is the kidnapping of beautiful actress Dilshad Vadsaria as a means of recovering the $100,000 bank take (Dilshad’s mere presence is unrealistic given she is far too attractive to be Aziz Ansari’s sister or Jesse Eisenberg’s love interest). The abduction occurs in a public restroom stall despite our observation the kidnappers only knew Dilshad’s apartment address (the building address at best, not the actual room). Are we to believe Dilshad Vadsaria favors a dirtier, more communal bathroom to the comforts of her own apartment? That she would go out of her way, walk across the street to a convenience store or a gas station, to make her anus (symbolically and literal soft tissue) more vulnerable, more susceptible to stink, flesh-eating bacteria and airborne illness because that is where she likes to plop the doo-doo? And why would the filmmakers demand Dilshad is a womanly creature who wants to do this? Is she strange? Is she a pervert? Why the desire to save up her defecation for strategic, more urban drops? Is the appeal to her the PUBLIC, the SOCIAL arena that is forced to accept her abuse? Or is it the possibility for INTRUSION that gets her excited? In which case she was victorious on both accounts.

But even if that were the case, why would her abductors not attack her in the privacy of her apartment (complex, lobby, roof)? Why would they wait around, indulge her, until she was in an exposed space with plenty of foot traffic – and then confront her? And how did they know she was a woman who needed to perform doody in this Jeremy Bentham, panopticonish spectacle? There are simply too many unknowns surrounding this scene. I believe the scene may exist as a vehicle to accommodate the off-color but not wholly unfunny reference to the Slumdog Millionaire diarrhea-outhouse scene.

30 Minutes is essentially a vehicle for Danny McBride to get done what he does best – be totally fucking awesome. One aspect of that is cultivating the uneducated, arrogant, rednecked persona best suited for carrying his jokes. The man cannot be stopped. Motherfuckers keep trying to stop him and he continues to slay naysayers. 30 Minutes also has a more skillful ending than other films of its caliber (I mentally categorize it with Horrible Bosses, The Change-up, Due Date, Date Night, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The Hangover Part II – flicks with so much potential but are ultimately mediocre and stumble from high expectations). It stops before it can ruin itself. On a dime. With paint in the eyes. What does it have most other flicks don’t? The triumphant performance of Michael Pena, a unsung and underrated Mexican genius of his generation . . . $6

If you heart 30 Minutes or Less:

Recommendations by Cheet Cheet
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Tropic Thunder
The Big Lebowski

OSCAR PICKS

In anticipation for the upcoming Oscars, the Fat Kids are making Oscar picks.  Here are the picks for the Mug.  They are RANKED in order from choicest pick at the top, to suckiest at the bottom.  The films that have not been seen are marked “N/A”.  And for the record, best leading actor should have gone to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.

BEST PICTURE

Black Swan

 

 

The Social Network
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
Inception
127 Hours (N/A)

ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE

Natalie Portman

 

 

Nicole Kidman
Michelle Williams
Jennifer Lawrence
Annette Bening

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Colin Firth

 

 

Jeff Bridges
Jesse Eisenberg
James Franco (N/A)
Javier Bardem (N/A)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Hailee Steinfield

 

 

Melissa Leo
Amy Adams
Helena Bonham Carter
Jacki Weaver (N/A)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale

 

 

John Hawkes
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
Jeremy Renner (N/A)

DIRECTING

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

 

 

David O. Russel for The Fighter
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hopper for The King’s Speech
Coen Brothers for True Grit

David Fincher’s The Social Network

O hail no! A movie bout a bunch a white boys doing shit on they computers? A bunch a white boys, prolly Final Fantasy-playin mothafuckas, at Harvard on they computers and Justo from NSYNC is in this shit too? Shit sounds boring as hail son.

And so I was surprise when my boy Scooby-Treat Facebookt me and was all, ‘has you seen this shit about FB? This shit is off tha hook big dawg!’ And I was like, ‘yo you seen it w/o me puto? Who you seen it wit?’ And he wuz like ‘doze niggas Chiya-Pet and Daze-E-Duke.’ And I woz all, ‘nobodyz txted me or nothing. Imma gonna beat yo asses!’

So tha nex day I’m at tha FB movie by myself all pissed like, this is bunk I’m gonna beat Scooby’s ass. And then I wuz like oh shit dis is actually pretty good ya’ll. I mean yeah it’s about all deez crackers and Aryan-looking muthafuckers doing what they do, such as playing on computers and math and wearing their caps backward. But dis wuz some true-life Good Will Hunting shit son. And this FB guy, this Max Zuckercorn guy – he was as much a genius wid hiz mouth as wid hiz brain yo. He be slaying muthafuckas down wif his words like, ‘you only worth my minimum wage of attention you cracker-ass snatch! I’m gonna make yo house into my ping-pong room playa! I showed you and I showed the world! I didn’t use your codes puto!’

And then JT be all like, ‘yeah dawg you tell um go fuck theyself. Now I gotta snort my cocaine rocks out this white girl’s belly buttons.’ And then this Eduardo cat be like, ‘I’m gunna fuck you up JT. Oh shit!!! My hot Asian girlfriend is lighting my trash can on fire!’

So in sum they wuz more action than I predicted. I mean, no niggaz died!!! But FB is not a life/death matter so actually that shit’d be whack if someone did get blasted all a sudden. You’d be like bitch please, you know none a these honkeyz be packin heat in they JanSports. But this did show a battle of da words, a battle of da intellects. And a battle wit Zuckercorn’s own loneliness of da soul. Also my man from NIN be layin down tha hot trax fo this. And his beats be mad bawler yo! Trent you a sick genius.

And that crazy Asian girl Eduardo passed on – I say damn!!! Girl you need to let a real man holla atchoo!! You fine as hail and you know I likes em a little wild and mentally illin. A little dangerous, a little villainous. Holla . . . $8

If you heart The Social Network:

Recommendations by DJ Gun-Ray
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Boogie Nights
Frost/Nixon

%d bloggers like this: