Archive for August, 2009

Cross-dressing in the Park after Dark

Posted in Timothy Parfitt with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by Timothy Parfitt

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This past Tuesday was the closing night of the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, and they picked a classic, “Tootsie.”  I am a little ashamed that I had not seen this film previously, and befitting its reputation, it is very, very funny.

The cast, centered around Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, have great rapport, and script builds the pre-AIDS -era gender-bending mix-ups to hilarious crescendos.

Watching the film, in Grant Park, surrounded by thousands of enraptured film buffs, I could’nt help but feel a little sad.  Never in a million years would the Hollywood of today create such a ballsy and thematically problematic comedy.  It is sorta weird to see Dustin Hoffman empowering actual career women while in drag.  I will still take that any day over the heroines of today’s sex comedies, whose feminism makes them shrill spinster who are reduced to waiting  for Matthew McConaughey to thaw their frozen vaginas. Continue reading

Inglourious Basterds: Entertaining, But Unwieldy

Posted in JAGP, Review with tags , on August 26, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

Inglourious Basterds is probably the one film released recently that needs no introduction, plastered as it is across every cineplex, newspaper, and movie review site out there.  Here’s a few things you might not know:  the childishly misspelled title is in fact a reference to a 1978 Italian film also set during WWII;  “Nation’s Pride,” the film-within-a-film meant to imitate Goebbels’ propaganda agenda, was directed by none other than horror master Eli Roth, who also co-stars in the film proper as “The Bear Jew”; Tarantino has been at work on the film for over 10 years, during which it has evolved from a cartoon-like vehicle for a fantasy, alter-ego of Quentin himself, to nearly becoming a mini-series;  and finally, he has plans to create a pre-quel of Basterds with a blaxploitation core. Actual opinions of the film follow the jump.

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The Cove: More Wartime Horror than Documentary

Posted in JAGP, Review with tags , on August 23, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

The Cove documents the struggle of a small film crew to capture footage of a notorious, and previously unseen, Japanese body of water where dolphins are captured and slaughtered by the thousands.  Taking Rick O’Barry – lead actor in the popular ’60s TV series Flipper – as it’s protagonist, the film traces a complex network of international interests which simultaneously stimulate, protect, and obfuscate the large-mammal farm, allowing it to continue for decades in almost complete isolation and political immunity.  Yet the film does far more than simply reveal the cultural forces at work; it deftly weaves together first-person interviews, pop-culture artifacts, shady political organizations, and covert pseudo-military missions into a highly entertaining piece of contemporary documentary horror with a thirst for revolution, not merely review.  Wielding video cameras like weapons, the filmmakers directly challenge an entrenched political machine in the hopes of bringing about real political change with their images.  Transcending mere documentation, The Cove pulses with an exhilarating, action-packed heart.

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District 9: Aliens Welcome Here

Posted in JAGP, Review with tags , on August 21, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

district_9_ss1District 9 has one of those rare previews that manges to whip up fanboys and critics alike into a frenzy of excitement with a few choice images, while revealing little-to-nothing about the film itself.  Given that, I’ll try to avoid spoilers and plot discussion as much as possible, but be warned: most of what you think you know about the film, from the trailer, is tragically misinformed, so any good review is going to reveal things you might wish had been left shrouded in mystery.  Consider yourself warned. Follow the jump to find out why it’s one of the best alien movies, ever.

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“One for ‘Bedtime Stories'” by Samuel C. Doob

Posted in "One for...", Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , on August 21, 2009 by sdoob

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I was in an extremely bad place when I saw Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler.  No dying grandmother; no loss of job.  It was just me.  Desperate to be in a movie theater inhaling popcorn, it was either BS or Marley and Me and I couldn’t see Marley and Me because I had promised to see it with my ex-girlfriend.  (We eventually did see it and it was bad and long and boring but this is not a Marley and Me review.)  BS surprised me.  I don’t want to give too much away; the ad campaign made it look like one thing and it’s not that bad – I’m referring to the magic stuff.  Keri Russell isn’t that annoying as the love interest.  The I’ll-never-agree-with-you-or-your-way-of-life routine with Sandler was pretty stock, but it works.  A romance subplot was unavoidable; what I’m saying is it could have been a lot worse.  Guy Pearce was great as the snotty hotel desk clerk – the story centers around a hotel – serving as Sandler’s nemesis.  Pearce is good in this; I just wish Priscilla Queen of the Desert stood the test of time.  The CGI gerbil wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I don’t know much about Russell Brand, the British comedian who looks like a stretched Robert Smith, but he was a pleasure in this: the comedic relief in a comedy.  Okay I just watched the trailer and now I’m ashamed I’m writing this review.  But I’ll stand by what I’ve said.  See Bedtime Stories, especially, of course, if you babysit.

Those Fat Years a review of The Edukators

Posted in Review with tags , , , on August 20, 2009 by Timothy Parfitt

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The Edukators, starring Daniel Brul, starts well enough, introducing  the audience to a trio of idealistic young Berliners who stick it to the man by stacking rich people’s furniture in their living rooms while they’re on holiday.

But that’s about it in terms of plot.  Of course, stuff goes terribly wrong and the they almost become hardened terrorists, but in the end, they just go to Spain and have a threesome-no biggie.

  The creators of this film obviously sympathize with the young trio, (who call themselves “The Edukators”) and share their hatred for poverty and Nikes.   Strangely, the kidnapped capitalist becomes the most likable character.  Brul and Co. so act irritatingly irrational (deciding to strip and make out at the most inoportune times, say during a car chase), I was hoping they would be caught and jailed.

I support the idea for a moratorium on the use of “Halleluyah” by Leonard Cohen, in any form, in the soundtrack to the movie.  “The Edukators” has a high production value by German, standards, but they must have shelled out big time to score Buckley’s version of that song, because they milked it on and off for the last twenty minutes of the movie.  While song is playing, the actors stare thoughtfully in the distance, learning invisible lessons. *

Having no moral center, The Edukators wants to invoke the spirit of the 60’s, but settles for numerous montages and good intentions.

*I still refuse to see Watchmen because I have heard they use that song in a sex scene.  Shiver.

You’ve never been to Wayne’s World

Posted in New Classic, Samuel C. Doob with tags , , on August 20, 2009 by sdoob

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Wayne’s World: I can’t say enough about it.  So I won’t say much.  There’s just so much love and warmth and great characters like Garth and Russell, Bunhjamin’s producer, that WW could still be a great movie without jokes.

Samuel C Doob