mother!

What a month for horror. And to think it is September, not October.

It came out a two weekends ago and is smashing September box office records, which just means that people love being scared by clowns or feel nostalgia from the previous TV adaption.

But then we get mother! just a week later. Which advertising for has been all over the place. One thing for certain, we know it is a Darren Aronofsky film, so we can expecting something fucked up and hard to explain.

Or not?! mother! is getting a wide release and has a huge star attached, maybe this will just be a run of the film horror movie. Schyeah, and maybe David Lynch will make a straightforward film as well.

Wall
And maybe this wall is just a wall and not a metaphor about bees or some shit?

This film is about a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and a man (Javier Bardem), living in a house in a field on their own. She is slowly rebuilding it after a fire some time in the past, and he is a poet who hasn’t written in awhile. They are both always working and their love is straining, but they are alone and they are alive.

And then a man (Ed Harris) appears at their door. He is old, sickly, and he thought their house was a bed and breakfast. The poet is a generous person and lets him spend the night, despite being a stranger. And the man is sickly and coughs throughout the night, but in the morning he is fine. And also in the morning, his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up at the door. Huh, he didn’t mention anything like that, and now there is two of them. The poet is still generous, and fuck it, who cares what his wife thinks? They can stay too, because they like his work and he likes their approval. But house guests who make themselves at home can be quite annoying.

Especially when their sons (Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson) come over as well, arguing about estate and will disputes, and one son kills the other in their house. Holy shit, these are terrible guests.

Things get worse from there as more and more strangers enter their home, making our “mother” feel more distant from her husband, but that is all just the vaguest details I could get out about this film. Because in reality, it is a lot stranger, darker, and twisted than anyone should expect.

Oh, and of course, Kristen Wiig. Can’t forget about her.

Mob
“And no one is fucking using coasters!”

I wish I could have just sat in the theater after mother! and just reflected on the experience that unfolded in front of my eyes. But it was late and I had to rush home to pass out, needing sleep before work.

Days later when finally writing this review, it is still fresh on my mind. Partially because of the graphic nature and story in a story that it told. And partially because I knew that this film would have a hell of a shit storm from the regular movie going community. This is not the sort of film that should have gotten a wide release and marketed as some sort of home invasion horror. It is an art house film and it is being exposed to people who are going to expect something completely different and be upset about being bamboozled.

Like it or hate it, those are the only two options people will have from this movie. Anyone who said they thought it was okay is probably just lying. Despite its polarizing attributes (Which again, are going to amplify to the negative), people WILL be talking about it and remember it for a long time. That is not always a good thing, because being infamous for being really bad or gross doesn’t make a great film.

But in all honesty, this is a pretty great film. It did incredible things inside of a one location suit. It should make the viewer feel claustrophobic and a whole lot of other emotions. It should leave the viewer thinking and change their perspective on a few things. Or it will just be considered some strange torture snuff shit and have people walk out of it, especially when it ramps up even further near the end.

Good on Jennifer Lawrence for doing a project like this. She breathed hard and panted her face off in this film to make us uncomfortable, and it really worked.

3 out of 4.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

It has been six years since we had Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, six years! That was back when my reviews were extremely shitty, not just shitty.

And yet, I still like the original film. The second film pissed me off so much that I didn’t watch the third film. And hey, in these six years, I still have not “gotten around to it”. Fuck the second film.

But again, new people, new pirates, some more Jack Sparrow, and Dead Men Tell No Tales is ONLY a little bit over 2 hours, not a complete marathon like the rest of them. Fine. You have piqued my interest once again, what can you give me? Something good, I hope?

Original
Shit, this just looks like the first movie now…

Before the movie can truly begin, you have to be treated to some weird ass flashback, with a boy named Henry looking for a lost ship. That ship? The Flying Dutchman. On that ship? Apparently an older and crusty looking Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). And this boy is his son, from Elizabeth (Kiera Knightley). I have been told all of this is explained in the third film, but you will be confused as fuck without that knowledge.

Then we get a film really beginning, with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and some crew (Kevin McNally, Adam Brown, Martin Klebba) robbing a bank! Also in this same town is an older Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), recently arrested for being the only surviving member of his crew. He claims a ghost ship led by a Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) took them out, and he wants to get Sparrow. Also on this island is a “Witch”, aka a girl who knows some science, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who wants to find Neptune’s Trident thinking it is her destiny thanks to some orphan shit. Oh hey, Henry also wants the trident to free his daddy. And Sparrow wants to not die to a ghost pirate looking thing, great! Team work! Fun!

On that note, I put most of the plot in that one paragraph!

But I left off Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is basically a pirate King at this point, rich, glorious, no problems in the world. Until that Salazar gets to him and is about to take him out, until he agrees to help him find Sparrow. Turns out Salazar is not a ghost pirate like one would assume, but instead a pirate hunter who was bested by a young Jack Sparrow!

And yeah, Neptune’s trident, that is the goal this time.

Ghost
Remember, he is not a pirate ghost, he is a pirate hunting ghost.

The last two pirate movies must have started the same way: “Hey, people liked Turner and Swann, let’s bring them back but with younger actors and the same old Jack Sparrow!” Because hey, we got a young guy that looks like Turner, and a girl in a corset dress, so all the same demographics can be met. These films all feel like the same damn thing now. After they introduced tentacle face as a bad guy in number two, it seems like we need a weird and terrifying supernatural villain for anything to work.

And honestly, this movie was putting me to sleep. Dabbed around the movie were a few interesting scenes and shots, but it was an effects driven film with really poor pacing issues and a lackluster plot. If you are not familiar with the third film too well, the beginning will be quite terrible. I mean, I figured it out quickly, but it still started the film on a slow point. The bank heist scene was very similar to Fast Five, with a more comedic twist.

But the villain was, for the most part, pointless. A stitched together plot as a way of giving us a Jack Sparrow origin, which no one is asking for. What’s worst? Their decision to tell of Salazar’s backstory with Sparrow was just SO. POORLY. PLACED. And interlaced with poor Bardem having to awkwardly growl out his lines as a camera moves around his face, while everyone else is on a boat just probably thinking “what the fuck, why are you doing this right now?” He was monologuing to one person, who also gave no fucks.

And finally, when it comes to poor plot, they just had to make everyone related to someone else it seems. Except for poor Sparrow, who just had to be related to whatever actor they got to play his younger self for a few minutes.

As for the Sparrow character, he really sucked in this movie. I cannot tell if he has always been this bad, but in the first film I thought he was a jerk, but charming and really confident in himself. In this movie, he just felt like a drunk fool the entire time.

Okay graphics, bad plot, bad pacing, bad film. I also have realized that this movie is coming out the same weekend that we got Alice Through The Looking Glass last year. That was bad, this is just not good. But they both have a Depp in common.

1 out of 4.

The Counselor

The initial trailers for The Counselor quickly caught my eye, but one thing really bugged me: I had no idea what the movie was about. It looked like some combination of drugs, sex, high life living, and death, I guess.

In fact, if the trailer was just a tad bit more artsy, I would compare it ahead of time to the very strange Killing Them Softly, but from the trailer it looks like it might just be another Savages.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. It is worse than both of them.

Cowboys
And they didn’t even have Pitt in a cowboy hat.
It turns out that this movie is indeed about drugs, sex, high life living, and death. I guess the trailer told me all I really had to know, for once.

The main character goes by Counselor (Michael Fassbender), so try not to get confused. He is a lawyer, a decent one, but lawyering doesn’t pay the bills. Not if he wants an extravagant lady like Laura (Penelope Cruz) in his life.

So he dabbles in the drug trade a bit, doing some smaller deals to get extra funds. His hook up for these trades is Reiner (Javier Bardem), who loves to show off his wealth and posessions. He is currently with Malkina (Cameron Diaz), a sex crazed woman, who owns two pet cheetahs.

Well, the Counselor decides he is only going to do one more deal, a much bigger deal than normal, worth over $20 million. He wants to marry Laura, so he wont be able to keep up his secret lifestyle.

But when has “one last job” ever worked out for anyone? Brad Pitt has a small role in this as well, as Westray, a middleman between Counselor and the drug king pins.

Ladies
Some people will watch the movie for the plot.
The actors in this movie are all fantastic professionals at their craft. Thankfully, they all act wonderfully in this film and I won’t think less of them because of their roles.

No, this mess of a film has to be blamed on Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy. Strong words, I know. Scott is a fantastic director, but this movie is no where close to his finest work. McCarthy is a great writer, and most of the films based on his novels have been excellent, but this is his first time writing a screenplay. Somehow the two of them managed to mess up a great thing and produce a film that feels like a waste of time and talent.

What is wrong with the movie? Basically everything.The editing, the plot, the dialogue, and the resolution.

I only cared about one character, Laura, and that was because she was too naive to realize what she was getting in to. Or she chose to ignore it all. Yeah, the rest o the cast members are all immoral people, but many movies have made me at least hate those bad characters and want them to face justice in some way. In this movie, I don’t care if they get out alive or not. The development doesn’t give me any reason to care.

My biggest problem with this film is that it doesn’t end up making a lot of sense. The plot has holes everywhere and the only major scenes only happen due to coincidence. Things go badly for this drug deal but because the movie doesn’t explain a lot of important details, it took me awhile to realize that any characters were actually in danger. In a movie about drug deals gone bad, you should be able to realize when the deal has officailly gone bad (and that the deal has even started).

The Counselor won’t tarnish the good names of Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy any time soon. No, this film will instead be swept under the rug quietly in a few weeks and promptly ignored.

 

1 out of 4.

To The Wonder

To The Wonder is another movie I accidentally waited a long time to see. It is that video on demand stuff, I tell ya. It came out in APRIL, and I realized a month later I could see it. Very exciting. After all, I knew the actors in it.

I also knew that it was Roger Ebert’s last review. Pretty fucking exciting. Then just like every other damn video on demand movie, I forgot about it and look where I am now. Reviewing it after it comes out on DVD, like a chump. Sigh.

Beach
Life’s a beach, and then you’re Ben Affleck.

The movie begins in France. Huzzah! Neil (Ben Affleck) is a non descriptive American traveling in Europe. While there, he meets a Ukranian woman, Marina (Olga Kurylenko), and her daughter Tatiana. They fall in love, kind of, especially at this place: the Mont Saint-Michel. Aka, where that picture from above is taken.

So he invites her back to the US with her daughter to the wonderful land of Oklahoma. Because when I think of the US, I think Oklahoma.

By now you will realize something about this film. There is a lot of beautiful imagery. There is a lot of voice over in another language (woo subtitles). There is a lot of not talking. Huh? Yeah. The characters don’t really talk. There is little to none actual dialogue in this movie. Ben Affleck almost has more words spoken in Clerks II, which is shocking.

For whatever reason (I guess we get to make one up), Neil is afraid of marriage, so eventually Marina gets sent back to France. Neil is left doing some vague environment work with problems that vaguely hurt the poor people. He rekindles with Jane (Rachel McAdams) who has had a recent rough past, and loves her up too. Just no marriage.

Marina has a bad time in France. Loses her daughter to her ex-husband, has no job. But eventually finds her way back in Oklahoma, with the man she loved before.

Also, there is a priest, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem). He is important? Somehow?

Church
See? He gets his own cool artsy shots and stuff.

Fuck. What in the fuck. Artsy movies sometimes really piss me off, when they go all art and no…substance? I want to say substance. It seems harsh, but it feels appropriate.

I found out there wasn’t a real script for this movie. Just an idea. Which explains how the entire thing is void of any real dialogue, minus one scene between Rachel and Ben. The actors were told to use body language and act a much as possible. You know what happens when you only use body language? A lot of strange scenes where two people are standing near each other, but looking off to the sunset or the hills, and then back at each other, then back at the scenery. All spliced together with other imagery.

Gah. I should I have paid attention to the director. Terrence Malick. I’ve reviewed one other movie from him. The Tree Of Life. A very polarizing movie, with good imagery, that people either loved or hated. I wonder if this is the same? I’ve actually only heard negative things, but I still wanted to watch for Ben.

Yes. A lot of the movie is visually pleasing, but I don’t want to see characters stand around during voice overs for two hours in pretty scenery. It is just not worth it.

The fact that I could write that plot summary only came thanks to the wikipedia article on it. Without it being explained, a lot of it just seemed up in the air and for anyone to interpret as they would like. I interpreted it as a shitty movie.

0 out of 4.

Skyfall

I have set my standards far too high! For most movies that are coming out in theaters, I have been reviewing them the next week. But for Skyfall, I waited two. My bad, I had to watch the previous two as you knew. Not to mention my general Bond apathy, but don’t let anyone here that. Daniel Craig is a scary man, who might come after me.

Bike it
There is no way I can outrun that shit.

Speaking of running, like all Bond films (maybe?) this one begins with a chase! Bond is in pursuit of some shifty eyed guy, along with another field operative Eve (Naomie Harris). Why? Because that guy was able to get his hands on some data, basically all of the secret agent identities involved with the MI6. Oh jeez, that shouldn’t even be a file! But even worse is that while on a moving train over a river, Eve misses the kill shot and hits Bond instead, causing him to fall to his demise and the bad guy goes free. (She didn’t feel lie re-firing, in shock).

But yeah, Bond being dead screws up some stuff. M (Judi Dench) gets into a lot of trouble with the government. They don’t like secrets being stolen OR dead agents. So Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) is brought in to help her into retirement and smooth out the transition.

Oh what’s that? Bond isn’t dead? Just hiding out considering retirement? That’s cool. But when his colleagues are getting killed from that list, he reluctantly comes back in to find that man and who is causing all this shit and why. Spoilers? I don’t think so. But Silva (Javier Bardem) is that man, and also a former agent of MI6. He is fed up with their operation, mostly at the way M has treated them. He has felt betrayed at the institution that created him and is looking for redemption. Huh, he is actually pretty similar to Bond when you think about it. Hopefully he isn’t too charismatic.

Don’t fret, we also get a young Q (Ben Whishaw) with “new” and “innovative” gadgets for Bond. Will Bond realize how much of a bitch M has been to them, and get the hell out of Dodge? Also, why not bring up a lot more of Bond’s past as an orphan, those kind of tales are always exciting.

Javi
“Tell me more of how no one has ever truly loved you, James.” Silva, while stroking Bond’s hair.

Whoa whoa whoa. I know my selections are limited, but this has to be my favorite Bond movie. Of all time. Ever. Out of the three. So there is that. I also remember a lot of the plot, while in the first two I can’t even remember who played the bad guys. Maybe they just weren’t famous? I can tell you they were not memorable.

Javier Bardem was fucking memorable. So fucking charismatic. His opening scene was one long take/speech and just perfect. Everything he said was so believable, and humorous as well.

Craig also brought his A-game, but I couldn’t help but think of the movie The Mother during some of those scenes with M. If you know what I mean. (You probably don’t, in The Mother, Daniel Craig fucks a grandmother. A lot).

The action was great, the drama was great, and hell, there was even a giant Komodo Dragon (maybe. A lizardologist can correct me later). Bad ass lizards are my favorite.

The final fight scene really put some nice closure on this part of the Bond era, an I believe Craig is signed on for at least two more movies, and I can actually say that I am excited to see them.

3 out of 4.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I am shocked that it took me so long to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona. First off, it has actors/actresses I like in it. Second, I actually kept putting it on my schedule, and just putting it off. Thirdly? Someone once called it ‘Ménage à trois: the movie” to me. I mean, seriously. How did I just not stop what I was doing and watch it immediately?

The other fun note about this movie? While I worked at Blockbuster, there was like, eighteen copies of this movie for sale the whole time. Eighteen! I ended up buying a Wal-Mart copy, because it was the same price and new.

Trois
Is this the trois moment? Is it?!

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are going to Barcelona! And now we have the movie title. They are going to stay there for a few months with relatives of Vicky (Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn) because they have a big house and their children are all gone. Sweet. Vicky actually has a legitimate reason, some how her masters studies involves Spain. Cristina is just there for the support and adventure!

They also have different views on love, complete opposite, so much so that the narrator deems it important! Cristina is a free spirit, and rushes through things, flames out quickly. Vicky likes real romance and patience and long commitments. That explains why she has a fiancé (ramping up the French here people. For a movie about Spain) with Doug (Chris Messina).

But one night at a museum, they run into a local artist Juan (Javier Bardem), who looks like he just wants to seduce whoever is easier. Even invites them to an Island for awhile. Clearly things are going well for Juan and Cristina, but she gets sick, so Juan has to spend a lot of time with Vicky instead. Moment of weakness, and boom, sex. Awkwardness arises when Cristina then gets better and continues her relationship with Juan, whoops. Even moves in with him. He kind of likes both, with Vicky realizing that she doesn’t love her husband anymore.

But nope. Then the crazy ex-wife Maria (Penelope Cruz) shows up. She has to stay with them too, because she is on suicide watch. And well, maybe Juan has feeling still for her. And Vicky. And Cristina.

Damn, that is a lot of lovin’.

dinner time
Yeah, jokes on you, that previous picture had Cruz not Hall.

Of course this is a Woody Allen movie. For whatever reason I didn’t know that before hand, but now that I do afterwards it makes perfect sense. He does have that mini obsession with Scarlett Johansson after all, like a lot of men. Most of us don’t put her in movies though.

This film was definitely both quirky and natural, which is a weird feeling. But after it all, I wondered what was the point. Is it to live life however you want, regardless of what other people think? To always question where you are in life? I don’t even know.

What I did see was an okay story, that did go places I wasn’t expecting, but doesn’t seem like the type of film I’d ever see again.

2 out of 4.

Biutiful

Oh shit, we got a potential bad ass over here. Biutiful, nominated for best foreign film…AND BEST ACTOR for 2011? Say Whaaa. That seems rare. Usually they put the foreign films into a category and then ignore the shit out of them. This puts a lot of pressure on the film to live up to hype.

A joint Mexican/Spain film, 100% spanish, by the guy who brought us Babel. Which I still haven’t seen so whatever.

Pressure
“Oh jeeeez, I hate pressure.”

Life is raining down shit on Uxbal (Javier Bardem). He is a single father, living with two younger kids, who cannot see their mother (Maricel Alvarez) because she is an alcoholic and bipolar, and a danger to them. He himself is an orphan, only having a brother Tito (Eduard Fernandez). He works with illegal immigrants, namely a bunch of Chinese people who make stuff, and a bunch of African people who sell the stuff. Oh, then he gets a terminal cancer and only has a few months to live.

And fuck it, why not, he can talk to the dead, or at least recently deceased, and passes on messages at funerals.

So he is going to die, guess time to fix up relationship with wife. Nope, she is crazy, and he has to leave his children in better hands! A lot of the Africans get arrested, and he ends up taking in the wife (Diaryatou Daff) and child of one of his (now arrested) friends in order to give them shelter. Hopefully she doesn’t screw him over too.

Speaking of screwing over, he is also able to find all the Chinese immigrants jobs. There is no way that can backfire! (This is funny, if you know what happens. Also sad. Also what in the fuck).

WHos that
Fine. You can have a picture of someone else who isn’t Javier.

Most of this movie is Javier Bardem with a solemn look on his face, and just being super depressed about his life. He obviously really wants to make sure his kids are safe before he goes, but shit, everyone is making that so damn hard. No one is trustworthy, and in the part of Spain he lives, everyone just sketches me out. There is a scene in this movie that I couldn’t get a picture for, of a strip club, where they wore weird masks to look like more boobs on their heads. And fake nipples on their butt cheeks to make them look like nipples too.

Wasn’t even a hallucination! That shit came out of no where, and he didn’t do coke until a bit later in the club!

Personally, I thought the movie dragged on really hard. It is about 145 minutes long, and only in subtitles. It was a long almost 2.5 hours of my life, having to read the subtitles and all, too afraid to try to multi task. I think it moved too slowly, and was clearly too long. Shit, I think it would have conveyed just as much emotion and heart that they wanted if they cut out like 45 minutes. But I just didn’t care about the story anymore.

Not to take anything away from Javier Bardem, because he clearly put his all into that character and trying to resonate its humanness (that sounds intelligent yeah?). But uhh, I don’t want to see it again.

1 out of 4.

Eat Pray Love

One of my friends joked to me a long time ago that Eat Pray Love could just be renamed “First World Problems: The Movie” (probably a stolen joke) but I didn’t get it now. Holy shit, I never knew the journey to self empowerment would be such an expensive endeavor.

Julia Roberts
Sure she is roughing it. But she is roughing it in Italy with a safety net.

The movie stars Julia Roberts as she travels around the world to experience life and find herself. She was living very well off in NYC with her husband, Billy Crudup, but got bored by the marriage. While trying to get a divorce (which he didn’t want), she fell for James Franco, who she then also had problems with. Her obvious solution was to pay for a trip to Italy, India, and Indonesia.

In Italy she was supposed to focus on her eating, and find happiness. In India, she would focus on her spirituality, and in Indonesia she would hang out with this weird medicine man and figure out her love life. Despite being packaged into nice little boxes, the overall theme of the movie was love. Everyplace she went, she had to deal with other social stigmas on her for not having a husband/being divorced. Some would call her courageous, but others stupid.

The transition was weird for me to watch too. Once she got to India, I felt like she was only being berated by Richard Jenkins for a long time. She got mad that he was speaking in “bumper stickers”, but she really didn’t have a better message. I barely even noticed her getting to Indonesia, minus the medicine man dude. Where, from what I could tell, all she was doing was hanging out with the rich Javier Bardem.

Javier Bardem
Not to be confused with the evil killing Javier Bardem.

Anyways. Most of the movie she seems to be complaining about love, and trying to get over her past two loves. Despite the eating and praying portions. Not only does that happen, but she complains a lot. Apparently her life is so bad that she had to leave the USA. By the end of course she “finds herself”, whatever that means, and in doing so…a new man. I thought they were trying to set us up for an independent woman thing, but somehow it still ends with a man. That man not being Billy Crudup, who she left brokenhearted in NYC.

I cant’ speak as a woman, but from what I can tell, it still promotes the fact that they need a man in their life to be truly happy, and that journeys require lots of money. If you are stuck at home, oh well, maybe you can journey to a nearby town. Doesn’t seem like the best messages. For shame, Julia Roberts. For shame.

1 out of 4.