Category Archives: At the Movies

2014: A Year in Movies That I Saw

Join me on a magical journey to Movie Town!

Join me on a magical journey to Movie Town!

While it can take years and years to make a movie, it only takes like two hours to watch one, so I saw a whole bunch this year. While I didn’t love all of them, I bet some of you will!

You should see this movie if you…

Stories We Tell (2012, USA)

Fantasize about having a different biological dad.

Her (2013, USA)

Eagerly await robosex.

Short Term 12 (2013, USA)

Want to believe those ragtag, troubled youths are going to make it after all.

The Class (2008, France)

Want to believe those ragtag, troubled French youths are going to make it after all.

Frances Ha (2012, USA)

Believe Greta Gerwig may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.

Philomena (2013, UK)

Believe Dame Judi Dench may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.

The Act of Killing (2013, Norway/Denmark/UK)

Want to see the movie with the most “holy shit” moments per minute. In case you’re not familiar, this movie is a documentary in which actual killers re-enacting their killings in the style of various film genres.

Breaking The Waves (1996, Denmark)

Want to see something super morally reprehensible. Every year I end up talking myself into watching a Lars von Trier movie, and every year I end up angry at having spent a long-ass time only to end up quaking with rage at the horrible implications of the events that transpire. In the case of Breaking The Waves, the moral of the story is ostensibly that you should follow your own path toward faith rather than that of a dogmatic church, but what this works out to in practice is that you should always do exactly as your husband tells you, even if it literally means going onto a pirate ship with the explicit intention of being raped to death. :/

 The Hunt (2012, Denmark)

Want to see something marginally less morally reprehensible than Breaking The Waves. For having produced Borgen, AKA the Greatest TV Show Evar, Denmark sure has come up with some objectionable-ass movies. This one’s basically about how children are always going around accusing adults of raping them and we shouldn’t believe them.

Sightseers (2012, UK)

Believe a boring couples vacation can be livened up with a bunch of random, gratuitous murders.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, USA)

Saw the first Hunger Games and thought, “You know what would make the sequel perfect? If nothing whatsoever was different!”

Gravity (2012, USA)

Hate movies with accurate titles. All they do is float! Honestly, the only way this could be topped is if 12 Years a Slave were called Unionized Workspace.

Flight (2012, USA)

Love accurate movie titles. It’s “Flight”, not “Flights” for a reason. This movie has exactly one exciting flight scene followed by fifty boring drinking scenes.

My Winnipeg (2007, Canada)

Want to believe that the most popular TV show in Winnipeg is one in which an oversensitive man takes offense at something and then needs to be talked out of suicide. I mean, it might be true.

12 Years a Slave (2013, USA)

Want to see Brad Pitt play cast himself in the most self-indulgent role in film history.

Bande a Part (1966, France)

Enjoy fun dancin’!

Closely Observed Trains (1966, Czechoslovakia)

Closely Observed Trains

Like anti-Nazi, coming of age sex comedies.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Neon Boudeax, Jesus Shuttlesworth and Space Jam 2

The news that LeBron James would be starring in Space Jam 2 was too perfect. Somehow, even more than winning MVPs and championships, taking over a Looney Tunes franchise from Michael Jordan would be the thing that cemented him as not just the greatest basketball player of his generation, but the biggest star. Plus, it provided the tantalizing possibility that every fifteen to twenty years, the greatest basketball player on the planet would, in addition to dominating their sport, need to star in a movie with a latter-day version of Newman from Seinfeld to complete their coronation.

Newman!

Newman!

Regrettably, it turned out to be a hoax—after “sources” claimed the rumors were unfounded, LeBron personally denied the rumors, meaning we can probably put this to bed. Unless this was a trial balloon to gauge public reaction, in which case this movie is definitely happening. And hey, it can’t hurt on his quest to become a billionaire. (“It’s my biggest milestone”).

The problem with superstar basketball players’ movies isn’t that they’re bad—of course they’re bad—it’s that it’s rather disconcerting when people who are physically perfect suddenly become stiff and unsure of how to, well, act. It takes away from Dr. J’s reputation as the smoothest to see him in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh trying to figure out what to do with his hands. (Though, it should be noted, it absolutely adds to his mystique when, in this PG-rated movie, he manages, through some miracle of poor ‘70s lighting, to stand up, in the nude, right in front of the camera).

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

Mmmmm...anthropomorphic hot dogs

Mmmmm…anthropomorphic hot dogs

As the most beloved living film critic, people often ask me if they should see a movie, and for me, the answer is always yes because I like to have people to talk about movies with, and don’t really care if you waste two hours of your life on Black Swan or whatever. Still, in the interest of being somewhat helpful, here’s pretty much every movie I saw in 2013 as well as a description of what kind of person should watch these movies.

You should see this movie if you…

The Vanishing (1988)

…like the idea of you and a loved one being buried alive.

L’Enfant (2005)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French people.

Kid with a Bike (2011)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids.

La Haine (1995)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids in black and white.

Festen (1998)

…find it plausible that a big party could continue as if nothing happened after the host is accused of child molestation.

District 9 (2009)

…believe that comparing black Africans under apartheid to hideous bugs is helpful somehow.

Upstream Color (2013)

…think not enough movies center on piglet murder.

A History of Violence (2005)

…like your murders arbitrary and awesome.

A Prophet (2009)

…want to spend three hours being REALLY EXCITED about a guy slowly infiltrating the Corsican prison gang while growing a mustache.

Cries and Whispers (1972)

…wonder if being surrounded by bright red walls all the time keeps you from being awful and miserable (it doesn’t).

The Seventh Seal (1957)

…want to see chess with death!

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

…like Italy, but hate the persistent image of it as “fun.”
Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Xenophobe’s Guide to Foreign Movies

I know, I know–two things most people hate: learning and movies with subtitles. For those of you with a Netflix account know that the streaming options run a little thin after a while. At a certain point, American Pie 6: Pie in the Sky (that one’s about them all becoming fighter Pie-lots) starts to look relatively good.

But good news, there’s a whole other genre you might not have considered (you racist): ForeignerStuff. And in that genre, plots take entirely different directions, characters act in weird, nonsensical ways, and sometimes a guy who looks like Pau Gasol throws himself in front of a moving train. It can be hard to follow sometimes because often they don’t follow the conventions of American movies, which often have things like “characters,” “characters with names” and “a plot.” But fortunately, I’m hear to provide what I’ve learned so that you can figure out what the fuck is going on if you ever decide to watch any of these things.

South Korea

Barking Dogs Never Bite, 2000

The lesson: Seoul is a gigantic, depressing hellhole

Holy shit, look at the size of this chunk of an apartment building. There’s a person in it, running. Can you see him? Of course not because it all is just this enormous building forever and everything looks the same.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 12.16.30 PM

Lady Vengeance, 2005

Fact: South Korea has some weird interpretation of Christianity that involves dressing up as Santa Claus

South Korea Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Santa Claus

When our hero, the kind-hearted Geum-Ja is released from prison, she is greeted by a Christian group, including those people. Also, someone gives her some symbolic tofu, which reminds me…

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Character or Ikea Furniture?

Today’s game is very simple: I give you a name, and you guess whether it is the name of a character from one the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (even you, The Castle of Air that was Exploded) books or if it a piece of Ikea furniture. But first, the seizure-inducing, but entirely compelling trailer.

Game on! (answers below each clue in white, highlight to see)

  1. Vanger
    GWDT
  2. Lindberg
    GWDT
  3. Hölmo
    IKEA
  4. Aspelund
    IKEA
  5. Nygren
    GWDT
  6. Malm
    Malm is both a character in the novels and the nice medium-sized chest of drawers pictured above.
  7. Bohman
    GWDT
  8. Ekstrom
    GWDT
  9. Faste
    GWDT
  10. Ektorp
    IKEA
  11. Karlstad
    IKEA
  12. Lack
    IKEA
  13. Holger
    GWDT
  14. Orgel
    IKEA
  15. Bjurman
    GWDT
  16. Trondheim
    IKEA
  17. Engan
    IKEA
  18. Bland
    GWDT
  19. Alina
    IKEA
  20. Indira
    IKEA
  21. Dragan
    GWDT
  22. Kvart
    IKEA
  23. Frode
    GWDT
  24. Fillsta
    IKEA
  25. Henrika
    IKEA
  26. Ofelia
    IKEA
  27. Forbes
    GWDT
  28. Krogstad
    Krogstad is the antagonist from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which is Norwegian, not Swedish, you racist.

To recap, the Ikea ones are (highlight below to see):

Ektorp, Karlstad, Lack, Orgel, Aspelund, Trondheim, Engan, Alina, Indira, Kvart, Fillsta, Hölmo, Henrika, and Ofelia. Malm is both.

How many did you get right?

1-5: You’ve turned in a performance that is statistically significant in its badness. Impressive.

6-10: Also pretty terrible.You must’ve let your subscription to Expo run out years ago.

11-15: Again, in this range, it’s probable you actually knew none of the right answers. Good on you for continuing to read this far.

16-20: Well done, you’re a real Kalle Blomkvist!

21-24: Did you have a feud with a pompous New Yorker critic recently?

25-27: Your closet was already loaded with Lisbeth Salander clothes even before H&M decided to market a line in her honor.

28: You must be very lonely and very Chinese.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: