Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Silence

Hillbilly is Brazil Edition Tie In:

     I went to the SP Film Festival last weekend with Ana to, you guessed it, watch some movies. We had to be careful about our selection and unfortunately with me tagging along we had to narrow our choices down to anything in English or with English subtitles. So we settled on two movies that had english subtitles and one of those was the German movie The Silence or Das letzte Schweigen.

  How we chose this movie was a systematic process in which Ana did most of the real work because I still can't read Portuguese all that well. She has one habit that I wish I had, that is taking copious amounts of notes and being organized. So she came to me with a long list of movies that were playing over the weekend that we could both watch and understand. This one just happened to be about a serial killer/murder mystery kind of deal which is always intriguing. 
     So after we nestled into our seats I learned what could even be more intriguing than a German dramatic film and that is trying to follow along without the aforementioned English Subtitles. Oops, seems that somewhere along the line there was a miscommunication between the catalog printer and the film distributor and I had to try and figure out what was going on with Portuguese subtitles and the German audio. Which wasn't as difficult as it might sound, the acting was decent enough that I pretty much could follow along with the actions of the characters. I am sure I missed out on some of the smaller nuances but still  I got the gist of it.
     At least I think I got the gist of it. either way Ana talked them into giving me a free ticket to anything I wanted to see afterwards which is pretty sweet. Especially seeing that I watched the entire movie with or without the English Subs. All it took was some subtle yelling and saying that she was a lawyer and before you know it I have a free ticket OR she asked nicely and explained our situation in a calm clear manner with which the woman working their could relate to and offered to see what she could do for us. That is like getting a steak dinner that was cooked well done when you ordered medium rare. Then with some friendly complaining after cleaning your plate, they give you another steak dinner. So it was sort of a half assed twofer, the first wasn't exactly what you ordered but the next has the possibility and  besides that it's free.

   The movie was advertised in the Mostra Film Book ($1R) as a murder mystery but it would be more apt to say that a murder takes place and we watch as it effects different people in different ways. The prologue of the movie is set in the early 80's and the rape and murder of a 12 year old girl by a two men in a wheat field. Flash forward 23 years later and another girl disappears but her bike and effects are found in the exact same spot in which the first girl was murdered. That is the action that brings all the characters together which is the real basis of the film as the second murder/disappearance is just a catalyst. You have the mother of the first girl, the cop that worked the case who just retired, another cop whose is falling apart because wife just died of cancer, the parents of the girl that just disappeared. Also the two men that murdered the first girl., one of whom still lives and works in the apartment buildings as a grounds keeper were they first met and the other who soon after the first murder packed up, changed his name and started a new life and family. You get to watch and follow these people deal with their lives after the horrific events and with their own lives.
     Anyway that is what I pieced together from my German and Portuguese. I could be totally wrong about everything it wouldn't be the first time that has happened.

Calm Down, Dr Wang Has Arrived....

     The second movie that we choose through our process was a Chinese/Canadian/Australian production titled The Red Light Revolution. Set in present day Bejing it is a lovely story about a thirty year old trying to find himself and a career to get back his self respect.

When A Man Loves A Woman

     The career is selling sex toys in a small neighborhood which has a mostly conservative geriatric clientele. I have to say it was rather enlightening to watch a comedy that didn't involve someone being knocked up throughout most of the film or involve bad child acting. I mean I really enjoyed Knocked Up and The Switch but why does every other movie now have to have an actress walking around in a latex belly. Anyway as the story goes along and the shop becomes successful and accepted in the neighborhood which of course is seen in montage, an effect used in comedies for nearly 100 years. As usually happens in these sorts of comedies though, the shit hits the fan. We can't just be happy go lucky because we still have 45 minutes to go in our film and who wants to watch people with no adversity in their lives. That is the point of these movies isn't it, the guy that used to just give up in the face of a challenge now meets it head on because he has grown. Our young hero forgot to get the proper permit to open a Sex Shop in this location so of course he gets busted and seeing that he got all his product from what can only be explained as The Dildo Mafioso he is in serious trouble of getting his legs broke. 
      I really won't go into the last bit of the movie but if you have watched films for oh say the last 30 years you probably know how things are going to work out in the end. And while the movie might follow a formula perfected in comedies during the 80's with people like Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Rodney Dangerfield. That doesn't mean the formula doesn't work because it does work in this film. It works because the actors and the direction and good but also because this movie has something that a lot of new comedies in America don't have much of anymore, jokes. I love jokes, especially in my comedies. Even more so in my Chinese Sex Shop comedies. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wall Street 2 - Electric Snoozaroo....

      Ana and I went to see Wall Street 2:The Dollar Ain't What It Once Was last night at the Cinemark Theater located in the shopping mall next door. It was the only English film playing that we hadn't already seen or involved fighting a Resident Evil.
Makes me want to watch the Godfather

     First though we saw trailers and while I won't get into the Brazilian movie trailers because I couldn't understand them, there was a trailer for Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. I would like announce right here and now that I think I might have found the biggest comedy hit of the year. I haven't laughed out loud during a movie trailer in such a long time, this could possibly be the silliest idea for a movie that I have ever seen. I might have missed some clues as how the movie was supposed to be a suspenseful thriller because the trailer was cut together by a meth addicted, espresso drinking rabid monkey. I thought it was so ludicrous that I started laughing again in the end credits for Wall Street. Maybe I was just trying to take the pain away from the feature presentation.


     About WS2; let me start out by saying that I think Shia LeBouf is the Ben Affleck of his day. You place him next to Michael Douglas and you see this loud and clear. Douglas is Gordon Gekko, LePoff is "look mommy, I'm acting, I'm a man". The sad part is we are stuck with LePoff through most of the movie and only get a glimpse of the more interesting Gekko occasionally which kind of sucks. 

• Shia LeBouf is no Charlie Sheen all he has is talk normal to show normal and fast and loud to show anger, fear, sadness, gas pain and anal itch.
• His girlfriend has 100 million locked up in a trust fund in Switzerland, we learn this halfway through the movie and she says she planned on donating it to a charity. Only someone that has never been poor or middle class could ever think like that, especially someone that lives in NYC one of the most expensive cities in the world. LAME
• Oliver tries to put a message in the movie but it is really lost on shitty acting, too many plots that lead nowhere, an unrealistic sentimental ending 
• CGI effects that are there for no real reason but to say LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME
• Who am I supposed to care about in this movie? Gordon Gekko the man who steal loves only money (till the end). Shia LePuff who in the first ten minutes gets a bonus check for $1.5 million? His whiny unattractive girlfriend that works for a non-profit? Why do I care?

     You can't make a movie decrying unfettered greed that's only aim is too make as much money as possible. Why else would it get a world wide release everywhere on the same day unless they knew that word of mouth would probably kill it in two weeks. Not that it matters here in Brazil the line for Resident Evil 4 was standing outside the theater, Wall Street 2 was rather spacious for a Friday night. The best thing that could happen to Oliver Stone is if someone cut his budget in half and force him to return to his roots of Platoon or Salvador instead of giving him shit piles of money hoping to get the next JFK or Nixon.