VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Battery (2012) [zombies]

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 6.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

A strange zombie flick that proves that not all zombie flicks have to be the same. Some of them can have hardly any action, and be completely unexciting!  This is one of those “horror-dramas”, because it’s not really that scary.  It’s more about building a slow sense of dread, and demonstrating that when the zombies are really here, our deaths will be a bit more like Castaway and a bit less like Rambo. Rotting away. Alone.

Except this movie is actually a buddy flick. They rot away, alone together. Frenemies ’til the end. One makes safer, secure choices, and the beardier, assholeyer one makes more wild, feral, nomadic choices.  Of course Mr. Safe can’t stand Mr. Beard, and Mr. Beard generally thinks Mr. Safe is a pussy. These guys are besties, and they have their loyalty — but the movie verges on comedy in terms of wondering whether they were actually going to kill each other before the zombies (or other human survivors) got to them.

That aspect of the movie was great. The slowness was…. different. A bit refreshing. Not as enjoyable, but not wholly unenjoyable. But there were a few scenes where we were in disbelief that so little was happening for so long. Still…sitting…in…a….car……..  It was uncomfortable. But it did capture the essence of what the characters were going through.

So this was alright. I liked it. Nothing special. At least it wasn’t a *generic* zombie movie.

Written, directed by, and starring Jeremy Gardner.

Jeremy Gardner as Ben.
Adam Cronheim as Mickey.
Niels Bolle as Jerry.
Alana O’Brien as Annie.
Jamie Pantanella as Egghead.
Larry Fessenden (Cabin Fever 2) as Frank.
Kelly McQuade as Laura.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2272350/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW:o How I Live Now (2013)

Claire: 2.4/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

War sucks.
Purposefully living through it unnecessarily is stupid.
You’re stupid.

Lots of walking.
All for romance.
You’re still stupid.

Well. I thought I was liking this movie as I watched it, but in retrospect, I was just interested in what would happen next because I like end-to-end stories and never watch things in parts. Perhaps if I was the kind of person to turn a movie off mid-movie, I’d have turned this one off.

It kinda dragged on, and I lost interest somewhat–Although parts of it were exciting.

For the most part, it’s just a chance to see Saoirse Ronan with platinum blonde hair and emo-ish makeup, being a bitch, then not being a bitch.

I really didn’t like how her character changed from not wanting to be there at all–and being a bitch–to suddenly wanting to be there so much that she would do stupid fucking things like not leave a country in the middle of a fucking war. It was an almost instant transformation to retardation, and it was based on romance they barely showed or developed.

Was it because he nursed that bird back to life? Jesus fucking christ.

In the end, her personality is like Bella from Twilight: Taking ridiculous risks for a love that had yet to actually mature. At least Edward Cullen has the promise of eternal life and saving you from fucking werewolves and evil vampires and shit. What the fuck can some douchebag in the middle of a country at war do? Shortern your life? While you’re at it, why not date someone who causes you to get killed by werewolves? Stupid bitch. (I love you Saoirse!)

Carolyn’s thoughts: I agree they really glossed over her transformation from elusive bitch to “I will give up everything just to be here.” It was covered as a quick montage, which was just too rushed. Then it delves into the war stuff which just shows how much it sucks and without hope, what’s the use of going on?

Directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Written by Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas), and Penelope Skinner.
Based on a book by Meg Rosoff.

Starring
Saoirse Ronan (Violet & Daisy, The Host, Hanna from Hanna, Byzantium, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Daisy.
Tom Holland (The Secret World Of Arrietty) as Isaac.
George MacKay as Eddie.
Harley Bird as Piper.
Danny McEvoy as Joe.
Anna Chancellor (St. Trinian’s (2007), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) as Aunt Penn.
Corey Johnson (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, The Bourne Identity 2-3) as Consular Official.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1894476/combined

Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDB.

This was a fucked up movie. It just kept going derper (few will get that reference, but this is what we’re going with)!

Charlie Kaufman likes to make some fucked up movies! From Nicolas Cage losing his shit in Adaptation, to John Malkovich exclaiming, “I have seen a world that no man should see!”, to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind‘s bittersweet romance–There are some freakin’ awesome Charlie Kaufman movies.

This is the worst of the 4. But it’s still really good, and now that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead, it’s time to give this one a go.

It started to lose us a few times, but then it would ultimately snap us back and just… wow… Some of what is going on in this movie is absolutely amazing, and could only be done by Charlie Kaufman.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to motivate my interest in the characters. The plot seemed thin. The message seemed thin.

Being John Malkovich said a lot about the idea–both the erotic and vanilla aspects–of living in someone else’s skin, and had relationship drama (and psychological animal trauma) to drive a story. Adaptation definitely had a strong plot and an obvious resolution as well. Even Eternal Sunshine “resolved” by indicating that [highlight for spoilers] they had become aware of the cycle, yet were going to continue it anyway, because their love was a journey and not a destination.

This movie? It basically seemed to boil down to “don’t waste your life”.

What is built up in this Kaufman film is built up as well as any other. It’s just harder for me to take something good out this. You waste your life and then you die. Hoffman did this in the movie, and then again in real life.

So, there were amazing things, but this is the least important Kaufman flick for me. Perhaps it’s because he directed it himself? Maybe that made it not as good?

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Radha’s thoughts: This is one of my all time favorite movies. Hoffman’s performance is incredible and the last fifteen minutes alone make me cry like a baby for hours every time.

Claire: Seriously though… I kinda just got tired of the premise. They kept going deeper and deeper, but to what end? Don’t waste your life? I get it. Don’t waste your life!  Was there something deeper to it? I get if it was just a feeling that can’t be expressed, then I can understand. I hope there wasn’t some super-obvious symbolism I missed or something, because I do that a lot…

Radha: One way to get me is existentialism, every time. There’s no super-obvious symbolism in the movie, and the theme isn’t (or at least I wouldn’t characterize it as) “don’t waste your life” at all…I’d say if anything, it’s a meditation on the line between reality and art, and how blurry it can be. It’s definitely a portrait of the hopes and fears of mankind stuffed into one dude who’s neurotic about everything

Claire: One key word you used – “Meditation”. That could be it right there. I hate meditation, generally. Like, doing it, the concept, etc. Let’s not discuss that, it’d be an annoying tangent. But anyway, that may be it. I hate meditation. I want there to be a “point”. What is a “point”? Well, I know it when I see it…

Radha: Yeah, if you need a clearly defined point and not just an emotional study and character portrait, or a meditation on the nature of things…it’s no surprise that Synechdoche left you wanting. On the other hand, it’s exactly the kind of thing I love.

Claire’s Mom:  I love Kaufman–in my estimation, he’s the most original screenwriter of his time or any time. This film didn’t resonate with me as much as his others, but the fault could be my own–I just wasn’t able to process all the layers. I suspect this film is something that needs to be watched many times and, so far, I’ve only watched it once. Maybe I’ll get back to you after another viewing.

Radha: I’ve seen it at least 4 times and can attest to that.

Claire: I finally learned how to pronounce this.

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Written & directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Adaptation, 1 ep of Moral Orel).

Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games 2, The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister, Along Came Polly) as Caden Cotard.

Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Bad Grandpa, Percy Jackson 1, Where The Wild Things Are, The 40-Year Old Virgin, S1m0ne) as Adele Lack.

Tom Noonan (Last Action Hero, Robo-Cop 2) as Sammy Barnathan.

Josh Pais (Michael & Michael Have Issues, Adventureland, Scream 3, Rafael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Ophthalmologist.

Daniel London (Minority Report, 2 eps of The Sopranos) as Tom.

Michelle Williams (Oz The Great And Powerful, Shutter Island, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Claire Keen.

Stephen Adly Guirgis (Palidromes) as Davis.

Samantha Morton (John Carter, Minority Report) as Hazel.

Hope Davis (American Splendor, Home Alone, Flatliners) as Madeleine Gravis, the therapist.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jill in Weeds, Palindromes, eXistenZ, The Hudsucker Proxy, Short Cuts, 2 eps of Spawn, 1 ep of Mission Hill) as Maria.

Jerry Adler (The Sopranos, 10 eps of Mad About You, 1 ep of Quantum Leap) as Caden’s Father.

Lynn Cohen (The Hunger Games 2, Sex And The City) as Caden’s Mother.

Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, Dan In Real Life, The Birdcage) Ellen Bascomb / Millicent Weems.

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: http://gawker.com/5814822/japans-newest-pop-star-revealed-to-be-computer+generated-fake .

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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258153/

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Extracted (2012)

A very interesting premise: Being able to scientifically observe *other* peoples’ memories, thanks to corporations perverting technology originally meant for people to examine their *own* memories as a way of dealing with trauma. Now what happens if you get stuck in someone? This comes off like The Host meets The Cell (but with no romance).

However: Such a slow, slow, slow build-up. 40-50 minutes. But then it got interesting. And stayed interesting. Hell, it got so interesting it actually felt a bit rushed at the end.

I think this movie could have benefited from some better editing. It could have been a 4/5-star, 8/10 movie easily. Maybe even better. But it missed its mark a bit.

Written & directed by Nir Paniry.
Starring Sasha Roiz as Tom.
Jenny Mollen (Crazy, Stupid, Love) as Abbey, Tom’s wife.
Dominic Bogart as Anthony, the heroin addict.
Richard Riehle (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Miss Nobody, Hatchet, Palindromes, Mysterious Skin, Dorm Daze 2, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Father Riley, the prison priest.
Nick Jameson (President Yuri Suvarov in 24, Batman: Year One, Eurotrip, Beowulf, The Critic, 15 eps of Spider-Man-TAS (1990s), 13 eps of Mission Hill, 6 eps of Star Wars: Clone Wars, 1 ep of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Richard, the PR seller.
Rodney Eastman (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Eric, Anthony’s drug-dealer friend.
Frank Ashmore (the original V, Airplane!, 6 eps of The Guild) as Martino.
Ty Simpkins (47 eps of The Guiding Light, Iron Man 3) as Young Anthony.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1757746/combined