Saturday, September 20, 2014

2057 - The To Do List

I remember when the trailer first came out for this and I was super interested in it then - largely because I’m knee deep in sex comedies of my own.  I thought that this was a really sweet, funny, and heart warming coming-of-age story.  It checks off all the required boxes that come along with a sex comedy - Aubrey Plaza continues to wow me in a character that could so easily be a stereotype but she finds the nuances and the layers without ever abandoning her characters initial concept.  We’ve seen the story a dozen times of the dude trying to lose his virginity so it’s nice to see the female perspective - especially since anytime a girl is shown being sexually adventurous she’s often labelled as a slut, here Plaza is courageous and curious - a go getter.  The 90’s setting was inspired and the jokes weren’t farcical and well placed.  

If you like smart sex comedies with heart this one is absolutely worthy of your time and attention and it’s on Netflix.  Give it a whirl.

Friday, September 19, 2014

2056 - Total Recall (original)

That's better!  Despite it's datedness, this film still stands up - the sci-fi isn't as corny as you'd expect it to be because it's got such a distinct style.  There's something mildly trashy about it with three-breasted hookers and hooker dwarves with machine guns and a young mutant Dean Norris.  But the thing that makes this miles ahead better is that the story is simple - the poor people are being screwed over by the rich - smothered by the lack of air that the rich are keeping, and can easily provide for them.  In this film it makes sense why Quaid was kept alive - I'm not entirely sure that it was in the remake.  The reason this also works is because we see physical evidence of what Arnold is fighting for - to let people breath and live - we keep cutting back to them to get a sense of the importance of his mission.  It means something for us and therefore we root for him... this film is fun and entertaining.  Both versions are on Netflix if you want to do a comparison - though I strongly suggest just spending time with this one - the remake is mostly's meh - though I quite liked how they better integrated Kate Beckinsale's character - a small victory in that non-film....

2055 - Total Recall (remake)

Meh.  Why the hell remake this film?  (then again, why the hell did I watch it?  and what was I expecting?).  The original was one of my favorite films from childhood - I remember rewatching it over and over.  This just feels so disposable.  Though now I'm going to rewatch the original.... maybe it doesn't hold up as well as I remembered.  This one however just feels kind of empty and pointless.  Meh.

2054 - Boyhood

There was so much hype behind this film that it was impossible to go into it with a fresh set of eyes.  When I first heard about the film and the construction of how it was made over 12 years I was a bit annoyed as I’d had a similar idea for a project - though because I knew it was Linklater doing it it made me excited.  It’s hard to separate the story from the style.  On one hand you’ve got an incredible cinematic achievement - on the other you’ve got something that’s pretty simple, a story that isn’t all that spectacular.  And while it’s full of nuance and some really lovely moments, on the whole I think I have to ask - was his really worth 12 years of someone’s life?  I realize that it happened in and amongst other projects and other things, but I don’t know.  I know I’m being a bit cynical because this film was so universally loved, but I just felt like this story could have been more universal in some ways and more affecting.  It did stick with me a bit.  I’d love to see what special features the DVD has.  I’m not dismissing it - I liked it - though I did find it dragged on in parts.  I’d wholly recommend it to anyone who likes simple character based stories.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2053 - The One I Love

The trailer for this intrigued the hell out of me.  Combined with the fact that I adore Elisabeth Moss and really dig the Duplass brother’s stuff it had me at hello.  
Part of the fun of the film is the mystery element, and I don’t want to say too much.  It’s about a husband and wife who are at their wit’s end of what to do with each other, and then at the advice of their therapist they go to a retreat-esque cabin where all goes really well… too well… and they start to question that. 
The best part of the film is how the “element” (as I’ll call it in a non-spoilery way) does a really beautiful job of dissecting relationship issues in a fun, fresh, and really really smart way.  I LOVED that about the film.  The worst part is how the “element” closer to the end tries to explain itself in a realistic way, and almost destroys what came before by doing so.  I HATED that about the film.  So this is a tough one for me.  I think it’s worth seeing for sure, but by the end I didn’t love it as much as I did at about the half-way mark.  The performances are fantastic and the ideas are interesting - so based on that alone I can recommend it.  It’s definitely a conversation piece.  I’d say give it a go if you’re a fan of the cast and like messed up loved stories and think pieces.