Sunday, June 27, 2010
Hillshire Farm loves this movie. Go Meat!
The IFC blurb of this film reads "Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle debate cannibalism in the 1847 Sierra Nevadas." UM, NOT REALLY. The previews for this film made it look like, and I believed actually advertised it as, a horror film, sort of a period slasher movie. NOT SO MUCH. It's a comedy, albeit an incredibly gory one, but it's entirely on purpose, and all the advertising was bunk. The reason it failed at the box office is because it was geared toward the wrong audience. They wanted teenagers who feast on violence to see this, when what they should have been doing was casing the joint for over-educated hipsters with a deep-seated sense of humor.
What we have here is a vampirically pale and slightly confused-looking Guy Pearce as a disgraced soldier, banished to California, where he encounters Robert Carlyle, the near-victim of a crazed cannibal. Or is he?????? There are chases through the forests (set to a Benny Hill-style fiddle tune), bellies ripped to bits with dull knives, stews cooked over a rolling fire, dead horses, a scene involving a bone that kicked my gag reflex into high gear, and David Arquette. But I laughed the whole way through. On my grandmother's movie rating system, this rates a "highly diversionary."
If you like dirt-covered dude movies, and are extremely okay with the sight of blood, and love to snicker at things that also make you go "blech," please watch this movie.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
A human, a kangaroo, a griffon, a velociraptor, a snake, and Flipper walk into an incubator...so begins the vexing tale of Splice. On the surface, it is the story of two rule-breaking and stupid scientists. Below the surface, it is simply a terrible movie, but a joyous experience all around. It must be watched with friends.
Clearly, my girl Sarah Polley needed rent money. She's way better than this mess. Adrien Brody is, as always, undeniably sexy even though his nose takes up most of the screen, and here he displays some seriously whacked sexual behavior. Ever seen a winged orgasm? Now you have.
Need a vague plot outline? The two idiot scientists go against their orders and splice human DNA with animal DNA. No one says which animals specifically, because it appears that they poured things in with their eyes closed. Better to surprise you with, my dear. The outcome is a big-eyed, high-jumping, 3-fingered, gilled, bald, aging machine with serious mommy issues and a penchant for almost dying. And she loves Scrabble.
The defining moment of this film for me was during a pivotal scene (pivotal in that it cemented my suspicion that this was a hilariously awful movie) when my friend announced very loudly, "This is making me feel uncomfortable." Since everyone else in the theater was busy laughing, they may not have heard her.
The pitch meeting for this movie can probably best be described in a very short monologue from the movie itself. First, the pitch is given. Then, after a shocked silence, the studio says, "You can't do that...you shouldn't do that." But of course, they did that.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
This quiet little movie defied any and all low expectations I had about it prior to hitting PLAY. My doubts were in place simply because of the blurb about it on IFC, which listed Giovanni Ribisi as playing an Italian cop who falls in love with Cate Blanchett. If you are like me in that you type-cast Ribisi as a bumbling idiot clown, you should watch this movie. And then remember that he was on that episode of the X-Files where he was electricity personified and he turned on jukeboxes and defibrillators with his mind. And he narrated The Virgin Suicides.
Heaven begins with a revenge scenario gone horribly awry, but the explosion is the loudest and most jarring part of the film. Silence is more conducive to portraying fear, loneliness, and regret, which are a few of the themes here. Blanchett plays an English woman living in Italy, looking for justice. She is effectively waging a one-woman war against drugs, claiming that the police have not heeded her many calls and letters about a man she says played a role in her husband's death. Blanchett is stupendous as always, but Tom Twyker, the director (Run Lola Run), does not allow the movie to be obsessed with her beauty. She is a character actor, and here she is allowed to be ugly, or as ugly as she can be, which is not very much at all...
All the usual plot devices from prison/cop movies are here: loss, revenge, love, and escape. The difference is that they have been turned on their heads. No car chases, no shootouts, no passionate sex scenes. But it is a better cop movie than most. At its core, it is a love story. Go hit PLAY.