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Rating History

The Perfect Crime (El Crimen Perfecto)(Crimen ferpecto)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

English:
[i][b]Broken Flowers[/b][/i]...I wanted to like this....I really did. But Writer/Director Jim Jarmusch slightly overestimates how interesting a minimalist Bill Murray performance (ie a constant blank stare) and an anticlimatic story can be. Murray plays a wealthy bachelor who gets unexpected news in the form of an unsigned letter. Apparently he has sired a son but the woman who wrote the letter, a former lover, never told him. That son, the letter tells the hardly moved Murray, is searching for Murray. The movie takes us as Murray goes on his own search to find which of his past lovers sent the letter.

Jarmusch can be thanked for not turning this into farce or melodrama, but the point along the narrative spectrum (between laughs and tears) that he chooses is just too low impact.

Spanish:
[i][b]El Crimen Perfecto[/b][/i]... I recently discovered Alex de la Iglesia at a retrospective on his films. I saw [b][i]The Day of the Beast[/i][/b] and loved his hilarious critique of both the Catholic Church and "alternative" philosophies. So when I saw that his latest was being distributed in the US, I jumped at the opportunity to see another of his rip-roaring satires. I was not disappointed. This film about the perfect crime first shows us an imperfect one: two men who had vied for the same position at a Madrid department store come to blows after one wins and the other loses. The loser accidentally kills the winner and tries to conceal the whole thing. He almost pulls it off, but one of the women who works at the store decides to "help" him. For this ladies man, this wouldn't normally be a problem, but she's not the type of lady he's used to manipulating: she's ugly and she's smart. Iglesia's targets in this anti-romantic comedy (ie a film where the comedy lies in how unromantic their relationship is) are both masculine maschismo and the feminine ideal it perpetuates.

Japanese:
[i][b]A Tree of Palme[/b][/i]...This anime version of Pinocchio (where a puppet wants to be real) is unnecessarily confusing*. It's not set in some small village like the Disney version, but in some complicated science fiction dystopia engulfed in a unexplained conflict that drowns out the beauty of the allegory.

Korean:
[i][b]My Beautiful Girl Mari[/b][/i]...This is I think my first Korean anime (oh yeah) and I was struck by how flat the animation seems compared to Japanese animation. I'm not sure whether this is characteristic of most Korean animation, but I'm not really sure where this is going so I will stop....

The movie is set is a fishing village on the coast and centers on two boys who are best friends. One of them is going off to study in Seoul causing them both some anxiety. The main character, who lost his father in a storm at sea, doesn't take this very well. He seeks an escape and finds it in the mystical conjunction of a special marble and a lighthouse. He is taken, physically or imaginatively for the movie isn't always certain about which, to a plane of clouds and fluffy animals. There he meets Mari, a being of this mystical plane. At first they share curious glances and then something more. Their only teens so their love has a certain innocence.

This is beautiful, albeit flat, movie. The broad vistas and flights through the clouds are richly colored and rendered.

A Tree of Palme (Parumu no Ki)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

English:
[i][b]Broken Flowers[/b][/i]...I wanted to like this....I really did. But Writer/Director Jim Jarmusch slightly overestimates how interesting a minimalist Bill Murray performance (ie a constant blank stare) and an anticlimatic story can be. Murray plays a wealthy bachelor who gets unexpected news in the form of an unsigned letter. Apparently he has sired a son but the woman who wrote the letter, a former lover, never told him. That son, the letter tells the hardly moved Murray, is searching for Murray. The movie takes us as Murray goes on his own search to find which of his past lovers sent the letter.

Jarmusch can be thanked for not turning this into farce or melodrama, but the point along the narrative spectrum (between laughs and tears) that he chooses is just too low impact.

Spanish:
[i][b]El Crimen Perfecto[/b][/i]... I recently discovered Alex de la Iglesia at a retrospective on his films. I saw [b][i]The Day of the Beast[/i][/b] and loved his hilarious critique of both the Catholic Church and "alternative" philosophies. So when I saw that his latest was being distributed in the US, I jumped at the opportunity to see another of his rip-roaring satires. I was not disappointed. This film about the perfect crime first shows us an imperfect one: two men who had vied for the same position at a Madrid department store come to blows after one wins and the other loses. The loser accidentally kills the winner and tries to conceal the whole thing. He almost pulls it off, but one of the women who works at the store decides to "help" him. For this ladies man, this wouldn't normally be a problem, but she's not the type of lady he's used to manipulating: she's ugly and she's smart. Iglesia's targets in this anti-romantic comedy (ie a film where the comedy lies in how unromantic their relationship is) are both masculine maschismo and the feminine ideal it perpetuates.

Japanese:
[i][b]A Tree of Palme[/b][/i]...This anime version of Pinocchio (where a puppet wants to be real) is unnecessarily confusing*. It's not set in some small village like the Disney version, but in some complicated science fiction dystopia engulfed in a unexplained conflict that drowns out the beauty of the allegory.

Korean:
[i][b]My Beautiful Girl Mari[/b][/i]...This is I think my first Korean anime (oh yeah) and I was struck by how flat the animation seems compared to Japanese animation. I'm not sure whether this is characteristic of most Korean animation, but I'm not really sure where this is going so I will stop....

The movie is set is a fishing village on the coast and centers on two boys who are best friends. One of them is going off to study in Seoul causing them both some anxiety. The main character, who lost his father in a storm at sea, doesn't take this very well. He seeks an escape and finds it in the mystical conjunction of a special marble and a lighthouse. He is taken, physically or imaginatively for the movie isn't always certain about which, to a plane of clouds and fluffy animals. There he meets Mari, a being of this mystical plane. At first they share curious glances and then something more. Their only teens so their love has a certain innocence.

This is beautiful, albeit flat, movie. The broad vistas and flights through the clouds are richly colored and rendered.

Friends With Money
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[b]Inside Man[/b], Lee[indent]The marketing for this movie worked: it got me to see a paint-by-numbers heist movie by promising that Spike Lee's direction would raise this above the heist genre's low-brow standards. This promise goes woefully unfulfilled. Clive Owen robs a bank. Denzel Washington tries to stop him. Jodie Foster is a "magnificent cunt." Waste of time. Sad to see Lee diluting his "Spike Lee Joint" brand.
[/indent][b]
Brick[/b], Johnson[indent]Johnson has taken the hard-boiled world of noirs like the Maltese Falcon and Chinatown and moved it to San Clemente High School. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the teenage Sam Spade, Brick is a helluva movie. Its well written. Johnson creates his own slang for the world he creates and, with this slang and clipped dialogue, comes write up to the line of over-writing. It's well acted. This is especially true for Gordon-Levitt who proves that he has the screen presence to carry a movie as his character investigates the death of his former girlfriend and finds himself in the seedy high school underground of sex and drugs. And it's well directed. John made this movie for an astonishing $500K, but looks better than most movies made on 10 or 20 times that, proving that skill not money matters. There's one pivotal scene where Johnson hides the action from the audience and you get the sense that part of this is because the action involved was too expensive, but he takes this budget constraint and mines it for the sort of off-screen menacing tension Scott used in Alien. He makes not seeing better than seeing. He uses this creativity not only to hide things but to reveal (or rather reiterate) the baser elements of human nature as his characters spend their movie time jockeying for power and position.
[/indent] [b]Friends with Money[/b], Holofcenor[indent]Writer/director Holofcenor's dramatic set up is simple enough: four women friends, three with money, one without. The message is simple enough too: money doesn't solve your problems. The simplicity here is the good sort, however, and not the bad sort as it is the basis for a well written study of relationships. The acting is spot on, the direction a bit shaky for my taste (shaky has never meant realism to me: my life isn't shaky; unsteady camera work only reminds the audience that there is a person holding a camera), but the quiet world that the characters move around in looks and feels like mine. Aniston shines here as the friend without money (and a relationships) as her friends Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack glow; they plus their husbands combine to offer the best ensemble performance of the year so far.
[/indent]