Posts filed under ‘Foreign’

Seafood (hai xian)

MOVIE:  Seafood (hai xian)

NUTSHELL:  Zhu Wen’s DV quirky tale of a suicidal Beijing prostitute who goes to the seaside resort of Beidaihe to end it all, only to find another hotel guest beats her to it and a local policeman is psychotic… and pretty darn frisky even for a nutjob.

GOOD THINGS:  Jin Zi as the depressed, congested and yet ghetto-fabulous pro.

BAD THINGS:  Cheng Taisheng as the psycho. Way too creepy for me! (Plus violence and rape)

FEATURES:  Prada, snow, train rides, sunglasses, a hell of a way to lose money, KFC hand blow dryers

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Salamanders served as food. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I was sure I was about to see something very unpleasant.

NOTABLE:  Notes say it’s in Mandarin but apparently a couple characters aren’t aware of that.

BEST PART:  The denouement I think. Maybe the funny stuff with the depressed long hair down the hall.

BEST LINE:  Life is wonderful. So much good seafood to eat.

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Y Tu Mama Tambien (guest)

MOVIE:  Y Tu Mama Tambien

GUEST:  Mike H.

NUTSHELL:  Two teenage boys take an older woman on a sexually charged road trip through Mexico.

GOOD THINGS:  Three fully-realized characters. Realistic sex for teenage boys — in other words, up, bang, done. That was a great 10 seconds. Picturesque rural Mexico travelogue.

BAD THINGS:  Gay subtext to relationship of two teen boys. They act on the gay thing when they’re both drunk as hell on Tequila. Cuaron wants us to believe (I learn later from an interview) these boys are gay and burying it because their macho culture doesn’t accept such things. In fact these boys are so blotto when they do kiss that they come off as teen boys who are so horny that if they’re drunk enough, even they’d look good to each other.

FEATURES:  No-name cast of Latinos

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Extended shot of boys kissing while the older woman (okay, she’s 28) blows and jacks them.

NOTABLE:  Director Alfonse Cuaron called a French journalist a racist for posing an accusatory question at Cuaron, asking why Cuaron isn’t making movies about Mexico’s downtrodden poor.

BEST PART:  The dirty pool scene. And the jizz in the country club swimming pool scene.

BEST LINE:  “Come inside me. I want to take part of you with me.”

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

Skies, Satellites

MOVIE:  Skies, Satellites

NUTSHELL:  Futility of war mood piece about a man who finds himself with amnesia amid the Bosnian war.

GOOD THINGS:  Beautiful looking and compelling at the start

BAD THINGS:  Eventually the Memento-y suspense wears off and it turns into a guy wandering around like Le Petit Prince.

FEATURES:  Filip Nola, Filip Sovagovic, Barbara Nola, Rene Bitorajac, Leon Lucev

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  By the time the rape scene comes along we are already on the “war is futile” bandwagon.  Spare us?

NOTABLE:  You know all the Slavic movies seem to have the same cast.  We may need to send humanitarian aid in the form of actors.

BEST PART:  “Wave! Smile!  Let them see we’re fine and we don’t give a shit!”.”          

BEST LINE:  “I know a soldier when I see one and you’re not one.” 

or

“Where’s the accordian?  Have we won or what?”

or

“I’m just a voice in the desert

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

One Night with Sabrina Love

MOVIE:  Once Night with Sabrina Love

NUTSHELL:  A rural teen wins a contest to spend the night with a porn star.

GOOD THINGS:  Super yummy South America teen, Cecelia Roth as the sexpot

BAD THINGS:  South Americans doing their very South American thing

FEATURES:  Fabian Vena, Tomas Fonzi, Norma Aleandro, Rio de Janeiro

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  I’m not sure I approve of rural farm teens getting popped by 50ish porn stars.

NOTABLE:  Beautifully shot and very funny.

BEST PART:  Giancarlo Gianini as Sabrina Love’s long-suffering husband

BEST LINE:  I forget.  It was subtitled though.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

No Man’s Land

MOVIE:  No Man’s Land

NUTSHELL:  Biting political commentary about NATO’s involvement in the Bosnian war based on a true incident in which one Bosnian and one Serb were trapped together in a trench.

GOOD THINGS:  International cast of great actors.  Very funny with pointed commentary but doesn’t smack you around or anything.

BAD THINGS:  Annoying reporters

FEATURES:  Branco Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis, Katrin Cartlidge, Simon Callow, Serge-Henri Valcke

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Assorted blood and guts incidents.  The mine thing is kinda intense.

NOTABLE:  See “Skies, Satellites.”

BEST PART:  The German mine expert’s punctuality

BEST LINE:  What a mess in Rwanda!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm Leave a comment

Last Laugh

MOVIE:  Last Laugh

NUTSHELL:  A doorman gets demoted to washroom attendant and goes all bananas in pajamas.

GOOD THINGS:  Visually stunning with amazing mise en scene and better acting than you’d expect. Murnau’s storytelling is told only via visuals. (Movie contains only one title card.) One of the movies they blather on about in film school but you should still see.

BAD THINGS:  Perhaps if the one title card was in English rather than German, I would have enjoyed the film more.

FEATURES:  Heart-rending “eating soup” scene, strangers with candy, bellboys, a wedding, lost buttons.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Emil Jannings egomaniacal preening and grooming of his beard

NOTABLE:  Revolving door motif

BEST PART:  Woman with lunchpail going totally berserk

BEST LINE:  No lines in this one. Hmph.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

City of God

MOVIE:  City of God

NUTSHELL:  In the ghetto “Ciudade de Dios” in Rio de Janeiro, two young boys follow different paths amid brutal violence and ubiquitious drugs.

GOOD THINGS:  Astonishing film by Fernando Meirelles based on Paolo Lins factual novel. Everything’s first rate here. The director’s use of filmmaking technique to tell the story is alternately shocking, witty and breathtaking.

BAD THINGS:  City of God is very true to life and based on real events. After you see all the carnage and then realize it’s true, you will want to drink yourself into a coma. Go see it in a theatre near a bar with a license to sell hard liquor.

FEATURES:  Drugs, afros, Hang Ten shirts, guns, a cast of thousands who are brilliant but who you’ve never heard of, drugs, Portuguese, guns, great music, photography, drugs, newspaper folks, guns, ginger drug addict, beautiful girl, unrequited love and guns

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Well it’s about drugs and kids killing each other. Dooyaaiieee…

NOTABLE:  The cast is made up of mostly non-actors. Wow wow wow!

BEST PART:  Don’t let the fact that one character is named “Carrot” dissuade you from going to see this film. You have my personal guarantee that there is NO prop comedy in City of God.

BEST LINE:  Having a hoodlum for a brother sucks.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

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