VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Small Apartments (2012)

Clio: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.6/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

This rating is disproportionately low. Is it because the main character is a fat bald dude who never wears pants the entire movie? C’mon, people. This is that special genre I like to call “FUCKED UP”. Except it’s also a comedy, so it’s not really as fucked up as some other movies (like Gummo, Irreversible). So it’s not really THAT fucked up. At least, the movie makes this fucked up story comical. So I don’t know why people would rate it so low. Fucked up is a boon, funny is a boon. This movie was solid. On par with any major hit you’d see.

It’s just a bit creepier, that’s all.

Based on a book about a creepy guy who seems a little off, finds himself living alone in a small apartment with a cranky old man and a deadbeat stoner for neighbors. ┬áHe misses his brother, who is in a looney bin, but sends him cassettes every day. ┬áThen his landlord is accidentally killed, and the fun of watching things unfold begins: People with poor coping skills trying to cope with a situation stranger than most situations most of us will ever have in our lives. That’s entertainment.

We thought this was an interesting movie, full of interesting quirks.

Directed by Jonas Akerlund (who used to mostly direct music videos, but has moved on to “realer” endeavors). Book *and* screenplay are by Chris Millis. Mr. Millis is a book author, not a screeplay writer. This is the only one he wrote. But it was based on his book. Isn’t that nice? A little respect actually being shown to the author? It almost seems quant, but it really should be common sense!

Matt Lucas as the main character (2 eps of Portlandia, Tweedledee & Tweedledum in Alice In Wonderland, Cardinal One from Popetown, Cousin Tom from Shaun Of The Dead).
James Caan as the old next-door neighbor (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Elf, Honeymoon In Vegas).
Juno Temple as slutty teenager (Kaboom, The Dark Knight Rises, The Three Musketeers, St. Trinian’s, Year One).
Saffron Burrows as… the mom?! (Wainy Days, Wing Commander).
Johnny Knoxville as the stoner neighbor (Jackass, The Ringer, Dukes Of Hazzard, A Dirty Shame, Men In Black 2, Coyote Ugly).
The celebrity shrink was Dolph Lundgren (He-Man in the He-Man Movie, Johnny Mnemonic, Dark Angel, Rocky 4).
James Marsden as the crazy brother (Anchorman, Sex Drive, Cyclops in the X-Men movies, and we just recently saw him as the son in Robot & Frank).
DJ Qualls plays a clerk! (The New Guy, Road Trip). Good to see him again.
Peter Stormare as the landlord (1 ep of Adventure Time, 2 eps of Weeds, 1 ep of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!…No I did not recognize him).
David Koechner as a fire investigator (Anchorman, Final Destination 5, Sex Drive, Talladega Nights, Thank You For Smoking, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Dukes Of Hazzard, 4 eps of 2011 Beavis & Butt-head, 12 eps of American Dad).
Hell, we even get Billy Crystal here! (Soap, When Harry Met Sally, Analyze That/This, America’s Sweethearts, City Slickers, Howl’s Moving Castle, Monsters Inc.).
The strangest one to pop up was Rosie Perez (Pineapple Express, choreographer on In Living Color). Why do we all recognize her so readily? She’s not really on screen in anything we’ve really seen, other than Pineapple Express.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1272886/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Robot & Frank (2012)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 7.1/10 IMDB. [Odd–It’s rare that we rate lower than the general public…]

A major component in me wanting to see this movie was the technological interest. But obviously I knew it wasn’t going to be about the robot’s technology. The robot is practically a MacGuffin. It’s really about the human. It’s really about us: This movie is about how the people of the future–us–will interact with the A.I.-driven, seemingly-sentient future robots that will be taking care of us when we get old.

IMDB says it was a comedy, but it was more of a drama with an interesting premise. On the surface, a retired cat burglar’s kids become concerned about his deteriorating mental health, so the son purchases a robot caretaker for the father. Robo-friendship ensues. But can you really be friends with a robot? The robot actually has some very profound things to say, and exhibits a duality: Does it have a soul of sorts, or is it truly a mindless automaton? Determinism vs free will? Yea, some.

Some people have problems with this movie’s minor flaws. Some people think it’s brilliant and beautiful. Carolyn & I were somewhere in between.

With Frank Langella (Superman Returns), Jeremy Sisto (Billy from Six Feet Under), Susan Sarandon (Janet from Rocky Horror, and it was a coincidence that Brad was in another movie we watched this week…), James Marsden (Superman Returns, Scott Summers from the X-Men movies), Liv Tyler (as the daughter), and Peter Sarsgaard (Green Lantern (2011), Knight And Day, The Salton Sea) as the voice of the robot.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1990314/combined