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hunterjt13
Jim Hunter 2 years ago

"What the fuck?" My response exactly. I hope they don't get too Gestapo about profanity; after all, we're not the only Super Reviewers who curse, and many of our reviews are rock awesome - your latest of Driver a prime example. (If I buy you Carey Mulligan's face for your birthday, will you send pictures?)
Once is pretty short, and if you're really pressed for time, you can fast forward through some of the repeated songs.

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The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick

(1987)
20 days ago via Flixster

Three headstrong single women in idyllic Eastwick wish for their dream beaux, and a devilish new stranger comes to town to seduce them in turn. Cher, Sarandon, and Pfeiffer are brassy, sensual, and sweet, respectively, and Jack Nicholson is the epitome of the diabolical wag.

Daryl van Horne spouts some base misogyny, which has the potential to be clever and satirical if only there were some wink at the audience. The trio of women gets their revenge through sorcery, but they still raise Daryl's lovechildren and treat him as merely an exasperating, absentee father rather than quashing his sacrilegious doctrine, defeating him for good, or at least spurning him for the Satan proxy he is.

Upon learning that this movie was adapted from a novel by John Updike, a writer I admire, I expected the hijinx to lead to something deeper. Is Daryl a Satan proxy or a God proxy? Daryl rants about how he gave the girls everything, and then when they forsake him, he will seek retribution. Isn't that the depiction of a vengeful and wrathful God? Is the satire on how often godliness and wickedness coincide? Well, apparently the original novel was intended as a feminist manifesto (even though the women are represented as actual witches), but there isn't much in the way of theological commentary, so I don't know what to make of book or film.

The Way We Were

The Way We Were

(1973)
20 days ago via Flixster

This movie starts out with heated sociopolitical debate and a great feminist role model, but then brassy, independent Katie devolves into Overly Attached Girlfriend - fawning over Hubbell, the poor little rich boy with a streak of writing talent, who buys her a beer and patronizingly ties her freakin' shoe? (I hate all shoe-tying imagery in art! I hate it when looks-so-much-like-his-dead-mother Ginny does it to Harry Potter. I hate it when Ted does it to baby-talking Boats-Boats-Boats Becky on HIMYM. I surprisingly don't mind glass slipper symbology because it's quick, okay? You just slip it on. "It's the condom of our generation." Tying a shoe is a ham-handed, Oedipal commitment of a romantic gesture.)

Anyway, Katie essentially rapes him and ropes him into falling in love with her, but she's made to apologize so much for her tempestuousness and "wrong style" while Robert Redford's dead eyes glaze over in a masquerade of privileged, white, liberal ennui.

The flashback structure of the film's beginning is also wasted. I thought YEARS had gone by before they meet again and that the whole movie would be about their college relationship and "the way they were"... The movie gets so episodic after that inciting incident, documenting every bit of grueling conflict contributing to their doomed partnership.

A donnee or redemption moment nearly appears when Katie shouts, "You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much!" but it's too late. They're still wrong for each other, but we're never given a convincing enough reason in the script or the performances for why they got together in the first place and why they stayed together for so long. And he never meets their daughter? Weird.

Highlight is Barbra Streisand's soaring mezzo-soprano in Marvin Hamlisch's titular song.

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars

(2014)
20 days ago via Flixster

Geesh. So I read the book, and it's fine. Its themes of love and death aren't particularly deep or new; in fact, they are a bit contradictory and a mishmash of different philosophies. Hazel is fine. Without the easy literary trait of strength-and-detachment-derived-from-cancer, she's a snarky blank slate for tween readers to project themselves on. Gus is goofy and charming, but he also thinks he's sooo cute. The constant "Hazel Gracing" gets a bit cloying.

The movie is essentially a good adaptation of the book. Shailene Woodley is strong, detached, snarky...yet a bit blank. Ansel Elgort is goofy, charming, cute...yet a bit cloying. What really bumps me though is that I don't buy their chemistry. Now this opinion may be colored by their sibling relationship in "Divergent" (Holy Incestuous Casting, Batman!), but while they smile and stare with loving eyes, I can't help but feel that they're in different movies, loving different people in different frames.

Some plot points are faithful to the source material...yet still strange. The kiss ovation at the Anne Frank House is strange. Hazel calling Peter van Houten "douchepants" is strange. None of the eulogies really move me, like they don't in the book. However, I am most disappointed because my one favorite scene does not get its due: when Gus gets stranded in a parking lot and pukes all over himself while Hazel tries to secure his feeding tube to no avail. That's the one scene in the book that really shows the abject horror and humiliation of cancer, but it's totally PGed in the movie.

22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street

(2014)
20 days ago via Flixster

Holy hell. Hilarious and three-quarters. This sequel pokes fun at sequels, meet-cutes, homoeroticism, codependent relationships - all at a bracing mile a minute so the formula doesn't seem so formulaic. I found myself referencing quips, events, and characters even weeks later. Jillian Bell is a caustic, deadpan bitch, and Dave Franco is a quivery little prison bitch, both in the best ways possible.

Kabluey

Kabluey

(2007)
20 days ago via Flixster

Includes all the ingredients of an indie movie: an aimless nogoodnik, an estranged family who tests his adult responsibilities, a strange part-time job that requires a quirky/cute costume, a redemption moment that establishes his self-worth and strengthens his bond with aforemetioned estranged family.

It's all very nice, and I like the quirky filmmaking aspects as well, like zooming in on weird physical phenomena, like the ghosty rotations a plastic spoon makes after you let go from stirring it.

I would have liked a bit more life or explanation in Lisa Kudrow's character. Yes, she's a depressive, but there isn't much for the character or actor to do, and the reasons for her affair are just a bit too indie-understated...indiestated? I also wonder why Salman leaves before reconciling with his brother, which seems to have been a source of tension throughout the whole movie.

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