#342- 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

Quick recap: No idea. I think it’s about commercialism? Or maybe prostitution. Or possibly pinball.

That lady in the background playing pinball was just about the only thing that made sense

Fun (?) fact: The ‘her’ in the title refers to Paris, not the main character, like I thought while watching the entire movie. It only goes downhill from here, folks.

This scene, where a guy whispers philosophy into his coffee lasted FAR too long.

My thoughts: The movie opens with a creepy guy whispering off camera about a woman on screen. He describes her as an actress and also details what she is wearing. Then the camera switches to another woman who looks exactly like the actress, except she is facing the other way. The whisper guy describes this woman as the main character and details what she is wearing. I spent the entire movie confused because I thought the plot was about two friends who looked exactly alike, but only one kept popping up in the narrative. It wasn’t until I read the basic plot outline that I realized the whisper guy was talking about the same woman. I think it’s time to take a break from French films for a bit.

So, you may ask, what are things I know about Paris after watching this film? Well…..

  1. There was a lot of construction going on in the late 60s.

2. And the construction mostly led to ugly, expensive apartments.

3. The ugly apartments led to housewives turning to prostitution to continue their lifestyle.

4. And prostitution mostly led to affording products that have similarities to ones we have in the US.

Considering I came up with 4 things instead of 2 or 3, I think that makes me smarter than the movie. Who’s laughing now, Jean-Luc Godard??

Final review: 1/5

Up next: The Cranes are Flying

 

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#284- Häxan

Quick recap: A documentary-ish about Witchcraft through the ages

Don't feed after midnight

Don’t feed after midnight

Fun (?) fact: Director Benjamin Christensen originally planned on writing the script with the help of experts but dropped that idea when he learned they were against his movie.

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My thoughts: Another year of HorrorFest is in the books and another year where I still think the 1920s were a pretty creepy time. Häxan alone didn’t do much for me because I’m decidedly’meh’ on witches, but people dressed in costumes as witches and you can GTFO with that nonsense. I’m not talking about the sexy kind we have walking around these days, but the ones with dead eyes featured in this film.

Häxan is half dry documentary about the history of witchcraft and half stories that the director heard. The dry documentary part was more interesting to me than the vignettes because people a long time ago imagined some pretty scary stuff. I’m all for science and learning how the world works, but sometimes it would just be nice to blame things on witches, you know? Like, it’s not my fault I didn’t get grades on time- my witch is a neighbor! I was going 30 mph over the speed limit because a witch cursed my foot. It works in every situation. We make jokes how stupid people back then used to be but they sure were the masters of shirking responsibility.

The vignettes are your typical witch fare of curses and making weird brews in a big pot. One ‘fact’ the director wanted us to remember is that witches like to kiss the butt of the devil. He mentions it 3 different times, complete with recreations of a bunch of witches lined up, ready to literally kiss ass. It seems like such a weird thing to focus on, as if that is the most offensive thing witches do. I didn’t know that was a thing before the movie, however, so I can’t completely hate on it. The more you know, I suppose.

Final review: 1/5. I’m still ‘meh’ on witches, but please don’t make me look at people dressed up during Halloween in the 1920s.

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Up next: The Wizard of Oz

 

#273- Vinyl

Quick recap: Andy Warhol’s ‘interpretation’ of the Anthony Burgess novel, ‘A Clockwork Orange’

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I feel like this picture wrongfully implies that the film had badass moments

Fun (?) fact: This is more ‘painfully obvious’ than ‘fun fact’, but Vinyl was filmed unrehearsed.

My thoughts: Vinyl is like that very brief time in my life when I thought I was an actor. I did theatre in middle school and mostly liked it, until my very last play when, for whatever reason, I didn’t memorize my lines at all. The result was as horrible and embarrassing as you could possibly imagine and STILL, STILL the show wasn’t as bad as this movie.

There are only two redeeming parts about Vinyl: the music was good and the film itself was only about 70 minutes long. It was a very hard 70 minutes to sit through, but I might’ve had to check myself into a mental institution had it gone on any longer. That picture I posted above? That was the entire scenery for the movie. Seriously. At one point, the character Victor gets into a fight with another character who I think was called ‘Scum Baby’ and then he sits in a chair for the rest of the movie as a cop interrogates him and now I’ve just literally described the entirety of the movie. How does this even happen? How did Andy Warhol, one of the most ‘out there’ artists read ‘A Clockwork Orange’, and think to himself, ‘What if I just had the main character mumble through his lines and then dance around a bit and then just sit in a chair while everyone listlessly moves around him? This will be the most faithful interpretation yet!’

But of course he didn’t think that. I don’t know what his reason for making this garbage was, but it’s art, so it’s supposed to mean something, right? I’ve always loved modern art because while it angers some people to see a rope lying on the ground that’s worth a million dollars, I think it’s brilliant. And for everyone who says, ‘That canvas painted black is stupid. I could’ve painted that,’ I say to them, ‘yeah, well, you didn’t.’ But art house movies are different because I can’t just walk away. I’m forced to sit through them and then spend time trying to figure out the point and then realize that maybe there is no point and why am I not out there producing stuff like this and making a ton of money. But then I realize that the only different between something cringeworthy posted on Youtube and this, is that one is directed by Andy Warhol. That’s it.

Final review: 1/5.

Up next: Enter the Dragon

#237- Storm Over Asia

Quick recap: A Mongolian herdsman starts a revolution because he got ripped off by a fur trader.

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To be fair, that’s a pretty nice piece of fur

Fun (?) fact: A silver fox fur coat will put you back about $5,000.

My thoughts: I’ve recently gotten into the podcast You Must Remember This, which examines the history of American cinema. This season, they are tackling the story of the Hollywood Blacklist, which fits perfectly with Storm Over Asia because it is legit Soviet propaganda, yo.

Did this movie create a bunch of Communists? Probably not. Unlike Salt of the Earth which had me legitimately questioning what I believed, Storm Over Asia only made me feel sorry for the poor foxes murdered for their fur. Not too sorry, though, because Mongolia is a very cold place and I’m sure fur was invaluable for keeping warm. The story itself, about the Mongolian joining with the Communist Partisans to fight the evil British army never really happened. Britain never invaded Mongolia, although they did occupy other places in Asia so it’s not too far fetched of an idea. Granted, I don’t know my USSR history as well as I should, but I just can’t imagine hoards of Russians rushing to movie theaters only to leave as card carrying members of the Communist Party because they were so angry about the fictional invasion of Mongolia.

Propaganda aside, the movie itself ran much longer than it should have. There are several scenes that made fun of Eastern religions, which made sense for the USSR to put in but watching 20 minutes of ritualistic dancing got old very quickly. I also didn’t really sympathize with the Mongolian herdsman, although I agree he should’ve gotten more for that pelt than what was given to him. Really, the only part I truly enjoyed was the last minute or so of the film when an actual storm blows in. At first, I wondered why someone chose to film a wind storm but then I got it- THIS is the storm over Asia! To make sure I understood the subtlety, among the wind blown objects were British Soldier hats and dead bodies, It was an exciting way to end an otherwise boring movie, although it still didn’t make me a Communist.

Final review: 1/5

Up next: La Notte