I just can’t get my head around new movies these days. Non random movies. Part of the problem is that I have to rely on Netflix DVD by mail service since I have an unreliable web connection and I am unable to stream (again, I know that’s TMI). Netflix is getting worse and worse as they try to abandon DVD watching dinosaurs like me in favor of streamers. I’ll probably rant more on that in the future. Anyway, I’m experimenting with some other services like GreenCine.
But what I’m going to do here is just post some quickie reviews of some of this year’s Oscar nominated crop that I’ve seen:
The Ides of March
I love politics and political intrigue, so this one is right up my alley. I’m a bit of an agnostic when it comes to Baby Goose as an actor. I don’t hate him, but I don’t get his appeal. That’s not just because I’m heterosexual, I can see the appeal of your Clooneys Pitts Damons etc. I just don’t get Baby Goose. At least in this movie he looks normal, usually dressed in a suit and tie and (usually) shaved.
Baby Goose is, of course, the central character of the movie as a young political operative for a presidential candidate (George Clooney, who also directed). His character is smart enough to know how the game is played, but yet still idealistic enough to be a true believer in his candidate. A series of revelations and machinations tests his idealism and he has to choose between doing the right thing or giving in to the cynicism.
The movie is jam packed with great actors, Clooney of course, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei (a small part unfortunately, I can never get enough of her). The script is smart, written by a political insider from the Howard Dean campaign, but I don’t think it’s biographical. At no point in the film does Clooney’s character lose it and start screaming the names of all the primaries he’s going to go to next.
I have to say that this film is all about the Democratic primaries. The Republicans are mentioned, but all of the players – good and bad – are Democrats. Anyone who thinks that Hollywood is too liberal should see this one, because the Dems don’t come off looking very good here.
The Misplaced Boy MST3K Scale:
Random Quote Whore Quote:
The Ides of March is a wholesale, bacchanal, necropsy of a movie! Ryan Gosling is linguiform!!!
Martin Scorcese wanted to make a movie his grandchildren could see, so he reached inside his heart and – with the help of a children’s book – he concocted this fantasy for all ages.
Hugo Cabret is a young orphan who lives in a grand train station in Paris in the mid 20s. He lives in the hidden clockwork of the station and keeps the clocks working, but how did he get there? Therein hangs a tale, and I won’t spoil it for you. To survive, Hugo steals food and tries to avoid The Station Inspector who is on a mission to capture orphans like Hugo and sent them to the orphanage.
He is trying to fix a writing automaton that represents the last contact he had with his father, because they were working on it together. In order to do this, he also steals parts from a toy store in the station. The owner, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, catches Hugo and puts him to work to pay him back for the parts. Hugo becomes good friends with the shopkeeper’s adopted daughter, Isabelle.
The kids are both great, but Chloë Grace Moretz is amazing as Isabelle. She has a wonderfully expressive face. At one point she thinks that Hugo doesn’t like books, and the shock and hurt on her face will sear itself into your soul. Never fear, Hugo does like books, and movies, and he shows Isabelle the magic of movies, especially the French film pioneer Georges Méliès, whose life and films (especially Le Voyage dans la lune) may hold an important secret for both of them.
I mentioned the kids. Sir Ben is always great. Sasha Baron Cohen is fun as the Inspector, and in this movie you don’t have to be very afraid of him. This is a sweet, lovely film that everybody should enjoy – except The Smoking Nazis. Sheesh! Because Méliès smokes in one old movie clip, they had to give the movie a PG rating and put one of those gosh awful anti-smoking PSAs on the DVD.
Bastards. I swear, I’m going to START smoking just to piss them off.
What was I saying? It’s a sweet, lovely film and I’m giving it a…
Random Quote Whore Quote:
Hugo is a swankiest, divalent, presidio of a movie! Asa Butterfield is seminervous!!!
OK, here’s the thing. I found out a horrible thing with this movie. But not about the movie itself.
What? You’re surprised that I’m about to rant about something that has nothing to do with the movie?
Are you new?
But OK, the horrible thing I found out: Big movie studios are greedy asstards. They are now sending out stripped DVDs for rental purposes. Different DVDs. DVDs that don’t have all the fun extra features that they put on the DVDs that go out for sale.
Now, that’s one thing. And it cheeses me off, but this particular disc killed me because the menu looks just like the menu for the disc with all the extras like the unrated version and commentaries, but when you try to click on them, you get this:
Crappity crap crap crapping crap!!!
Now I had heard that this was going on, and the other two new movies in this post were also sans extra features, but at least they had the courtesy to not dangle the extras in front of me and then say, “Oh no no no, silly renter. You don’t get to see all those extra goodies. You don’t qualify.”
Now I found something out. This is done with the cooperation of the big DVD rental operations, meaning Blockbuster and Netflix. Universal and the other studios that do this obviously offer Netflix a lower price for the discs. So the greed of the rental operations figures in too.
I decided to perform an experiment for you, my fervent readers. I checked out GreenCine, smaller rental operation out of Cali. Like all the others they have a two week free trial so I gave them a shot. During this two week period they sent me three discs, one of which was Bridesmaids. Well, guess what? The disc they sent me was fully loaded. Another reason to abandon Netflix, which is doing everything it can to destroy the love between themselves and their customers.
Alas, it’s not that simple. As I checked out GreenCine against my list of past and future random movies, I discovered that their catalog isn’t as extensive and their website is a bit clunky. For the time being, I will have to remain loyal to Netflix. Sigh.
But about the movie itself, like I said, great. Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a gal who’s unlucky at love and just about everything else. Her BFF, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and introduces Annie to the rest of her bridesmaids. The ensuing battle for bestie status between Annie and Helen (Rose Byrne) provides most of the hijinks. Helen is ostensibly everything Annie isn’t, she’s wealthy and organized, as some of the posters describe her, she’s little miss perfect.
I don’t often LOL, especially when I’m by myself, but this one made me LOL more than once. Yes, the movie is rude and crude, it earns it’s R rating. But unlike some other raunchy comedies of late, the movie still allows its characters some dignity and heart. Although the movie is co-scripted by Wiig, all the players are talented improvisers. In the extras that I fought so hard to see you can find some extra improvised lines that are quite hilarious, Wendi McLendon-Covey from Reno 911! is especially amazing.
And, yes, I’m now hopelessly in love with Kristen Wiig. I want to have her babies.
And if they do a sequel, it should be called Bridesmaids Revisited. Yeah, PBD.
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Bridesmaids is a nonredeemable, antiscorbutic, hyperparoxysm of a movie! Kristen Wiig is welcomed!!!
Oh, and Kristen…