VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Dictator (2012)

4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10 from  Clint
5/5 stars, 9/10 from Carolyn.
Native rating: 3.2/5 stars (Netflix), 6.6/10 (IMDB).

Carolyn was laughing the hardest I’ve seen her laugh in months(?) or a year(?).

I wasn’t quite laughing as hard.

This is way closer to Borat than Bruno in terms of subject matter AND how good it was. Definitely a must see. I am torn about not giving it 5 stars – maybe I am mis-rating it.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Still Waiting… (2009)

3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Native ratings: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5.0/10.

Using a Ween song doesn’t save this movie, though it’s still good. It’s just not the same as the first movie. It lacked the nuance and great dialog; the plot — even though that was never the driving aspect of the first movie — was not as good either. “The game” didn’t exist — just references to it.

A lot of the great cast was replaced with cast that wasn’t quite as good. Remaining was Calvin (the timid tinkler), Naomi (the bitch), Dean (Justin Long), Radimus (the hispanic dude), Natasha, and David Koechner.  However —

the hot blonde who “would eat your ass out like a hamburger if I was still in my bi phase” is Janet Varney –who voices Korra in the new Avatar cartoon Legend Of Korra. So that soundclip is just being begged to be overdubbed on some Korra animation.

Still Waiting is ultimately a shadow of the first movie, but still good. Still in the same vein. Just a much much lesser version.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Waiting (2005) (Waiting 1)

Waiting (2005) –
5/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.
Native ratings: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.8/10.

This does for the restaurant business what Clerks does for the convenience store business… Only more situation-based. Still with great dialogue frequently delivered by the creepiest Ryan Reynolds you’ve ever seen (no wonder they buried him alive… oh wait, that was another movie).

Hilarious ridiculousness, and a great cast — including Anna Faris, Justin Long, David Koechner, Lus Guzman, Allana Ubach, Andy Milonakis, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and a brief appearance by Wendie Malick (from Dream On and Just Shoot Me).

They thank “God, for not existing” in the credits.

Then the next day we watched the sequel…


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: S1m0ne (2002)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: IMDB: 6.1/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars.

Watched this to see the remaining unwatched Andrew Niccol-directed movie, after really loving In Time, The Truman Show, and Gattaca. (Though I liked Lord Of War way less than the other 3.)

What a great post-modern idea: Computer-generated actors becoming popular without the public realizing it — and of course between when the movie came out and now, it’s happened in real life, at least once, specifically in Japan with a pop singer who turned out to be a computer-generated composite of several band members: .

A great idea, but this movie didn’t explore the technosociological implications of the idea as much as I hoped. It was more about Al Pacino getting in over his head (“Say hello to my cgi friend!”), and how crazily the public can be easily manipulated. That made it not quite fulfill my own made-up internalized potential hope for what this movie should be (somethign I always advice against people having in the first place). Carolyn wasn’t bothered by that as much. Maybe I shouldn’t be.

Still a good movie.

Very interesting that Andrew Niccol married the woman who played Simone — who was not originally credited in the credits, leaving people to think she truly was computer-generated in the movie. (They were going to do it, but the Screen Actors’ Guild pressured them into not doing it, for fear that it would be the end of all actors, much like what the movie depicted.) This movie also has Catherine Keener (surprisingly playing a light, non-bitchy, warm person), Winona Ryder, and a way-younger Evan Rachel Wood.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Lazarus Project (2008)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.0/10.

A quite interesting movie that threw us for a loop not once, but twice.

The ultimate message is about if someone involved is in a murder, especially indirectly; It is that Maybe society should just let them get on with their life, instead of punishing them and making them feel the consequences of their crime for the rest of their life, making recidivism very likely by reducing their future choices. If you serve your time, you shouldn’t be forced into a lower caste. You should either get a life sentence, or not.

Also that the death sentence is a savage way to deal with things and not necessarily the best. When your car stops working correctly, you don’t destroy it to keep it from hurting you again–You fix it.

Laws also need to be applied properly. If you didn’t pull the trigger, you’re not the murderer, and shouldn’t be treated as one for the rest of your life. Laws equivocating one action with another are not justice.

Ultimately, forgiveness is the message of this movie — one that’s lost to most of our society. Especially Texas, and especially conservative Christians.


TiMER (2009)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.2/10
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10
Clint seemed to like this more than Carolyn.
IMDB rating is 6.5/10.

Concept-wise, it’s like taking Sex & Death 101 and In Time and smashing them together!

TiMER may come off as a chick-flick, but is actually really philosophical. The presence of advanced technology {indistinguishable from magic} that doesn’t exist on *our* Earth completely changes the way things work. People get timers that count down to when they meet their true love. But only if they have a timer installed as well.

People hook up and find love in a completely different manner. The opening scene has the main character forcing her boyfriend to get a timer — and when he gets a countdown (while her’s still remains blank, because her true love hasn’t had one installed yet) … It’s instant dump-ville.

Technology taking over peoples’ life decisions is a common thing in our real-life present-day earth, but it’s much worse in this alternate earth!

This is a romantic sci-fi, but not as heavy on the comedy (or mystery/intrigue) as Sex & Death 101.

Destiny vs. freedom vs. technology.

Another movie that springs to mind (besides Sex & Death 101) is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, which also pits technology against love. But the role of fate isn’t nearly as much in the forefront in Eternal Sunshine as it ins in TiMER, although it is still present in Sunshine.

By the way, it’s written, directed, and starring mostly-nobodies — though the main girl was in the Buffy series. And it does NOT play out in a formulaic way. It breaks expectations, thus exceeding them.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Audition (1999) (Japan)

3/5 stars from Clint, 2/5 stars from Carolyn.
5/10 from both of us.
7.3/10 from IMDB in general.

“Well… That escalated quickly.”

Not quite as hardcore of a movie as I was expecting from all the talk of this being one of the most traumatizing movies in all of cinema.

It was slow for my taste, and I didn’t care for it too much, except for the final “payoff” scene, which even then was not all that.

Saw, Hostel… You’ve been outdone, Audition. You being Japanese just made you more boring, not more profound.

The fake-out was decent, but only enough to redeem you back up to 5/10.