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Movie Tally 2012: Goon (2012)

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012Goon (2012)

Directed by Michael Dowse

Viewed: 3/10/2012 (On iTunes)

Surprisingly great sports movie with good laughs and a hefty amount of heart to boot. Payoff at the end of the film is excellent and well done.

 

    4.0 out of 5

Movie Tally 2012: God Bless America (2012)

March 26, 2012 1 comment

Movie Tally 2012God Bless America (2012)

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

Viewed: 3/10/2012 (@ Alamo Drafthouse – Slaughter Lane in Austin, TX) SXSW REVIEW

Bobcat Goldthwait is pissed off at a lot of people.  So many people in fact that his stand-in, a sad and hopeless Frank (played by Joel Murray), continually reminds the audience throughout God Bless America just how many different kinds of people “grind his gears”.  From the opening scene, you will be able to tell if you are on board with Goldthwait’s comedic sensibilities.  It’s actually an incredible smart move, because if you don’t find the dark, troubling actions of the first 5 minutes oddly enjoyable despite the bloody mess then check out because God Bless America isn’t for you.

Frank is a sad, lonely middle-aged man with a daughter who hates him, neighbors that have no respect for anyone else and a general distaste for the hatred spewing and mean spirited country that America has become.  Along with like-minded 16 year old Roxie (played rather brilliantly by Tara Lynne Barr), they go on a cross country crime spree with the end goal being to eliminate all the people that don’t deserve to live by reasons that they deem inexcusable.  It’s a dark, violent, and incredibly hilarious tale of two individuals who have had enough and decide to take matters into their own hands.

This film clearly comes from a dark and deeply frustrated place in the director’s mind.  He doesn’t aim to be politically correct, evenhanded or bipartisan.  This is an incredibly personal indictment of America, a declaration of war not just on a specific group of people but damn near everyone.  The rage is evenly spilled forth by meaningful (often quite touching) monologues and bloodshed.  Many of the victims are clear caricatures of real life personalities, TV show stars and religious nut jobs.  The violence is mostly cartoonish and over the top. I could see some people being troubled by it, but no more troubling than the shit you see on TV, leading to another possible subversive piece of commentary the film provides.  It’s self –aware but still manages to maintain the core point of the film, which is that the country has gone to shit and someone needs to fix it.

The performances from Murray and Barr are quite good and often lend an air of creditability to an otherwise madcap insane film.  These characters know what they are talking about, they can articulate why they don’t like something or someone.  Although Frank is more or less emotionally dead, there’s a fire and passion deep within his gut and we can feel it with every stoic stare and speech he gives. His monologues in particular are nothing short of brilliant, particularly the one to a coworker at the beginning and the final climatic speech seemingly given directly to the audience.  Roxie on the other hand is looking for an outlet, someone to allow her to be herself without patronizing her.  She’s as much a thrill seeker as a ardent supporter of death to those that deserve it.

As funny and enjoyable as the film is, I can’t help but wonder if it’s simply preaching to the converted.  Much like Bill Maher’s Religulous, The film seems aimed squarely at the people who will agree with it the most.  As a result how big of an impact will the messages actually have other than maybe getting some attention from the fear mongering TV hosts it’s lampooning? Although the message is loud and clear, it’s often repeated every 20 minutes or so throughout the entire run time. There isn’t anything said in the climax or final act that wasn’t already explicitly stated in Act 1. I have to admire the courage in showing a blatantly violent call to action if for nothing else in that it’s a complete disregard for anything “normal” or “usual” coming out of Hollywood.  As enjoyable as it is to watch I wonder if God Bless America could have used a little bit more restraint and thought in order to really figure out how to balance the lunacy with real, punctuated ethical discourse.

However, that’s not the goal of the film.  God Bless America aims to entertain the converted, chastise the ignorant, and fillet the willful hate mongers that are destroying society.  It’s a wake up call, a call to arms. And it’s so fucking right.

 

    4.0 out of 5

 

Movie Tally 2012: Army of Shadows (1969)

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012Army of Shadows (1969)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Viewed: 3/10/2012 (Netflix Instant Watch)

As close to a masterpiece as you are going to get about the World War II resistance movement and the danger these people put themselves through.

    5.0 out of 5

Movie Tally 2012: OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Viewed: 3/10/2012 (Netflix Instant Watch)

Didn’t really like the first one, didn’t really like Lost in Rio either.  Dujardin is still charismatic as hell but the jokes aren’t there and dated when they are.  Boring and repetitive, I’d rather watch the Naked Gun series again.

    2.0 out of 5

Movie Tally 2012: Martyrs (2008)

March 20, 2012 1 comment

Movie Tally 2012Martyrs (2008)

Directed by Pascal Laguier

Viewed: 3/8/2012 (On DVD)

Once in a while, a movie so shockingly intense, graphic and divisive will be released and instantly become a topic of conversation. When released in 2008, Martyrs instantly became masterpiece art-horror while at the same time being derided as thin, misogynistic torture porn.  Fast forward a few years and I’m finally seeing the film, although admittedly it’s mainly due to recently having the chance to see Pascal Laugier’s new film The Tall Man more than any passing interest in Martyrs itself.  I normally resist seeing ultra violent horror flicks, specifically because often times there’s no real purpose for the violence itself.  Through research I found that this might be one of the few nasty ones that not only had an impact and purpose but it was made extremely well.  The film is so unconventional in the way it tells a story, so uncompromisingly over the top at times that it’s no surprise that some people can’t stand the film.  Although I may have not liked the film for it’s pure ugliness and brutality, I certainly respect the hell out of it.

The movie opens on a small girl, bruised and bleeding running from what looks to be an industrial complex.  The girl, Lucie, is placed in an orphanage where she becomes friends with another girl, Anna.  Lucie is convinced that she is terrorized by a mysterious monster-like figure.  Fast forward sometime later and Lucie breaks into a quiet, seemingly peaceful home of a family and murders everyone.  She claims it’s the revenge she’s been seeking since she was a child.  Anna isn’t sure whether this is indeed the family or if Lucie has simply gone insane.

That description alone would fill a 90-minute film, the interesting part is that the film takes so many twists and turns that you’ll never be able to anticipate what’s happening next until by the end you realize the film is deceptively straight forward.  The progression and escalation of events not only feels natural but everything done to these women is actually given a twisted purpose.  And that’s where the film gets very interesting.  As nasty as Martyrs is for a majority of its runtime, I couldn’t help but feel utterly captivated by what I was seeing.   The third act in particular will hit you like a ton of bricks not only because of the raw violent, brutality but also because of the ballsiness of what you are seeing thematically. Obviously I’m being deliberately vague on plot points, as you should see the movie as fresh as possible.

This isn’t your average slash and hack, torture and kill horror film.  Pascal Laugier gives you more to think about and by the end of the film he’s brought up some very insane yet undeniably interesting topics to consider.  Not only is the script fantastic, his direction is surprisingly great with a wild and chaotic style that matches the uncertain beginning transitioning to a more steady, contemplative second half that’s far more appropriate for the subject matter.  Also helping are the great performances from Morjana Alaoui as Anna and more specifically Mylene Jampanoi as Lucie.  Jampanoi infuses Lucie with an air of believability, although it’s pretty clear what’s going on with her, she’s convincing while being a bloodthirsty, tortured soul looking for revenge.

Martyrs isn’t a flick I’d be quick to suggest as a must-watch.  It’s brutal, hardcore and incredibly difficult to watch at times.  Laugier even stated on the introduction to the DVD I watched, “People aren’t going to like me”.  He’s not making a film for people to enjoy, he’s making Martyrs to explore some incredibly interesting ideas whether people like it or not.  Filmmakers and horror nuts will get the most out of it I would imagine.  It’s the ultimate result of a filmmaker doing exactly what he wants to do and saying exactly what he wants to say with virtually no filters.  It doesn’t matter what we think, it doesn’t matter if people think it’s unnecessarily violent or grossly misogynistic, Laugier is only interested in realizing his vision.  That is unique enough to, at the very least, respect the filmmaking going on in Martyrs even if the movie is so relentlessly unenjoyable to watch.

    3.0 out of 5

Movie Tally 2012: Timecrimes (2007)

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012Timecrimes (2007)

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo

Viewed: 3/3/2012 (Netflix Instant Watch)

Still incredible especially considering the small budget the movie was made on.  Smart and actually as logical as possible considering the subject matter.

    4.5 out of 5

Movie Tally 2012: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Viewed: 3/3/2012 (Netflix Instant Watch)

Some funny bits and Dujardin is quite good. Most of it is silly and falls little flat.

 

    2.5 out of 5