Month: June 2013

Movie Review – Lars and the Real Girl

Category : Movie Review

Director: Craig Gillespie
Year: 2007
Ryan Gosling is much more than a pretty face. I mean, he’s a bona fide hottie, don’t get me wrong, but he’s got amazing talent. Pair that with good looks and you’ve got a star. After seeing him in Blue Valentine, which immediately became one of my favorites and is one of the more realistic love stories you’ll ever see, I was ready to proclaim him one of the great rising talents. And now having seen Lars and the Real Girl, that opinion has solidified into fact. So, as much as I enjoy the “Hey Girl” memes, I enjoy Gosling’s incredible acting even more.
This film is the story of Lars, his family, the Fargo-esque town in which he lives, and his unique way of battling loneliness.  He is a shy guy. He goes to work every weekday, church every Sunday, and rarely speaks to another human in between. He lives in his brother’s garage, having let Gus & his wife take the ancestral home. Lars is a loner and an extremely eccentric character, letting no one into his bubble. Until, one day, when he announces to his brother that he has a girlfriend, and asks if she can come to dinner. Of course, he fails to mention that she is a life-size doll that he ordered on the Internet. As his family and the town try to come to grips with this oddity, Lars begins to come to life and to face his problems, a feat that he cannot do alone. 
It must sound odd, and believe me it feels odd to see Lars sitting next to “Bianca” for the first time, even when you know that’s what the movie is about. But that strange feeling soon fades away. For some unexplainable reason I fell in love with Lars right from the very beginning. Maybe it was his vulnerability, or maybe it was Gosling’s great portrayal, but I wanted Lars to fight through his problems so badly that I, like the characters in the movie, was able to accept his strange coping mechanism and hope for the best. Schneider was excellent as well as older brother Gus, even shadowing some of the strange tics and mannerisms that Lars portrayed. The movie was funny, interesting, and moving. By the end it started to get a little like a Lifetime original movie, and that’s not what you want, but I forgave the final faults because I was so invested. I’d be interested to hear a clinical professional’s opinion, but for me it was an engaging film that left me with a good feeling. 
My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

Movie Trailer – The Lego Movie

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Phil Lord
Starring: Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks
Release: February 7th, 2014

Part of me really wants to see this movie.  Part does.  The rest wants to pretend it doesn’t exist.  Sometimes I wish I could travel back into my childhood, babysit myself, and take me to kids movies.  If I did that, would the older me simultaneously have two movies experiences at the same time?

DVD Review – Neighboring Sounds

Category : DVD Review

Director: Kleber Mendonca Filho
Starring: Gustavo Jahn, Irandhir Santos, Maeve Jinkings
Year: 2012

I’ve never seen a Brazilian film before.  I’m not even sure I’ve seen a South American film before.  I guess, for a person who considers himself open and experimental when it comes to movies, I haven’t seen that many foreign films.  I mean, I’ve seen more than Joe Sixpack over here, but I definitely specialize in modern American film.  So when I heard that Neighboring Sounds may be the best movie to have ever come out of Brazil, I had no way of judging whether or not that was true.  I knew I’d just have to watch it, try my best to appreciate it, and not compare it too much to the cinema that I’m used to.  Well, it turns out that greatness speaks for itself, in whatever language.

The Movie

The story takes place in Recife, Brazil.  The characters live in a fairly nice neighborhood, an area filled with condos, gated houses, and apartments.  Their lives are not that extravagant, they are a sample of the average community that could be found all over the world.  One of the main characters is Bia, a stay-at-home mother of two.  She spends much of her day cleaning, spending time with her children, feuding with her sister, smoking pot, and attempting to silence the extremely noisy neighboring dog with whatever means necessary.  Also living in the area is Joao, a good-looking, single, realtor.  He spends his time showing condos, visiting his father and grandfather, chatting with his house maid, and dating a new girl to the area, Sofia, whom he has come to have some very strong feelings for.  Their lives are not heroic, but are interesting in their simplicity.
Things get shaken up in this quiet community when Sofia’s car is broken into.  Joao suspects his own cousin, a strange young man with odd habits, but a member of the family nonetheless.  He is protected, in a way, by the money and power that Joao’s family has in the area, as everyone respects and listens to his grandfather, Francisco.  And when a group of night watchmen form a fledgling security firm, Francisco is the man they must approach in order to be accepted.  The community takes them on as guards, fearful of more robberies and feeling just a little safer at night.  But all is not well, as the new members of the community bring their own problems to the group, creating a tangled network of issues, histories, and fears that complicate what seem to be simple existences.

If this film is what I should expect from Brazilian cinema, then I need to be watching more of it.  And if it’s the best movie to ever come out of the country, I still need to give the rest of them a chance.  This was an surprisingly wonderful film, one of those that you just never see coming.  The director originally created this story as a short film, which you can watch on the DVD.  He wrote the script in 1994, shot it in 2004, and released the feature length version in 2012.  The short follows only Bia the housewife, and doesn’t involve Joao or the neighborhood.  Some of the events are the same in both films, and the short serves as sort of a guideline for the feel of the feature. 
It’s not coincidental that the short is about Bia, because she becomes the focal point of Neighboring Sounds.  She is a tremendously interesting character.  Her life seems pretty boring; vacuuming, waiting around for delivery men, doing the laundry.  But there’s a desperation under the surface that’s really easy to connect to.  The director uses the dog who’s driving her crazy to show us this tension, as barking becomes a constant pressure in her life, a driving force for a lot of her actions.  The actress who played Bia could not have done better; she was intense and frustrated, human and likable.  The same could be said for almost every actor/character in the film.  They were just so believable, so easy to relate to, that you fell into this world and never doubted it for a second.
But we can put the story and the characters aside for a minute, because they actually weren’t the important parts of the movie.  The film plays a lot with sounds, giving us real examples of everyday sounds that we sometimes tune out and that sometimes drive us crazy.  And the director uses not just sound, but other senses to bombard us with physical sensations that force us to feel a certain way.  A scene that is extremely uncomfortable, a shocking moment, a beautiful image, a boring silence; it was as if our emotions were being played with, but in a good way.  The film was all about sensationalism, relying not on the content of the message but on the way it was delivered.  By the end of the movie, I realized that I had felt more during ninety minutes than I usually do in a whole day.  I felt a waterfall hit my shoulders, I was hot on a summer day, I was in an elevator in silence, I was annoyed by a dog, I was sad for a friend.  And that’s what was so great about this movie; some try to get you to feel one thing, but this one made me feel a hundred.


Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the quality of the video was everything you could ask for.  The picture was crisp and the colors were great.  The neighborhood was a perfect location to show off some nice camera work, and the architecture of the city was superbly shown on film.
Audio – On the DVD you have the option of Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital or 2.0.  There are also English subtitles.  The sound quality was excellent, and the director used sound and silence in many ways to create moods and to force us into feelings.
Extras – There are quite a few extras on the disc.  You can watch the film with audio commentary by Kleber Mendonca Filho.  There is the short film that I mentioned, called Electrodomestica.  There are three deleted scenes that can be viewed separately or all together.  And there are nine trailers: Neighboring Sounds, Leviathan, Night Across the Street, The Law in These Parts, The Day He Arrives, Patience, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, The Turin Horse, and Aurora.

Final Thoughts

Highly recommended.  This film surprised me, and I’m so glad it did.  It was an interesting and physically stunning piece of art, one that started out being about the characters and ended up being an attempt to make us feel.  Be it love, fear, heat, shock, amused, aroused; you can’t watch this movie without feeling something.  The video was superb, the audio excellent, and the extras plentiful.  A wonderful film that I could watch again right now.

✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Audio
✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Extras
✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Replay

Movie Review – World War Z

Category : Movie Review

Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena
Year: 2013

We’ve seen zombie movies done a ton of different ways.  There are silly ones, gritty ones, disgusting ones, old school versions, new takes, and everything in between.  Even the zombies change from film to film.  You’ve got your slow-walkers, your run-and-jumpers, and your ghosty-creepers.  The point is, there are thousands of zombie movies and it’s a big, varied genre.  And we all know a guy that takes it way too seriously.  He’s seen every version ever made and he has an actual plan on what to do in case the undead take over the Earth.  People, for some reason, really buy into zombie movies and they go to the theatres to see them.  I, for one, have seen a bunch, and was excited to see a new and interesting vision of a standard plot.  I heart Brad Pitt, so he can do no wrong in my book.  And I like the projects Marc Forster has done before: Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction.  But those weren’t horror movies; they weren’t even action movies.  He did direct Quantum of Solace, which got mediocre reviews, but I was curious to see what he and Brad could do together and if they could breathe life into yet another zombie movie.
World War Z is based on the novel by Max Brooks.  The story of the film follows retired UN agent Gerry Lane and his family as they attempt to stay alive during a zombie apocalypse.  No one knows when the virus started, or where, but the outbreak has effected the entire world and is spreading quickly.  Once bitten, a person turns into a zombie as well, and goes hunting for other humans to infect.  When the disease strikes Philadelphia, Lane helps his family to escape the city, reuniting with his old boss on an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean.  All he wants is to stay with and protect his wife and daughters, but the U.S. military has other ideas.  They want Lane to go back in, to fly across the world in search of the origin to the virus with the hope that knowledge will be the key to destroying the zombies and keeping the entire world from being infected.  Lane begins a mission that is almost hopeless, battling the undead along the way, and fighting against all odds to get back to his family again.

It’s a story we’ve seen before and well done: Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well again.  And it was, pretty much across the board.  Brad Pitt is the quintessential American hero; I don’t know what it is about him but we’ll believe him in almost any role.  He played Lane well, the tough guy who can do what it takes but who has a soft compassionate spot.  Forster’s direction was good as well; no glaring problems, the movie flowed well, and there was enough humanity to counter-act the level of violence and destruction.  The special effects were nice but not over the top.  The scenes inside the infected cities were really realistic and terrifying, without being silly or unbelievable.  I was invested in the story from the beginning, and I enjoyed watching a well-made zombie movie.  Pitt and Forster were a good combination, and they brought some respectability to a genre that can loose control of itself at times.
However (and maybe you saw this coming), the movie wasn’t great.  It just wasn’t spectacular.  It’s hard to point to any one piece and say that it failed, because I don’t think there were any giant mistakes or weaknesses.  Maybe the side actors were just OK, but they didn’t really detract from the film; Brad Pitt was the only character that really mattered.  The problem seemed to be that the movie lacked punch.  It wasn’t gory, which surprised me more than anything.  It wasn’t even that violent; death was handed out casually without much detail.  The zombies themselves weren’t even that terrifying, except maybe for one close up scene.  The whole film just seemed a little watered down.  Maybe that was intentional, as a PG-13 rating can reach a lot more viewers.  It makes sense that they don’t want to gross too many people out and lose an audience, but by not being gruesome they lost out on some realism, as well as some points among zombie aficionados.  If the filmmakers were shooting for some sort of middle ground between Hollywood and b-movie, I guess they succeeded; it wasn’t a complete sell out and it also wasn’t just a gore-fest.  But I could have done with a little more brutality, both from the zombies and from the breakdown of cultural order.  It was a good movie, I had a good time, but as an adult who enjoys zombie movies, they could have gone farther.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

DVD Review – The Lesser Blessed

Category : DVD Review

Director: Anita Doron
Starring: Joel Evans, Chloe Rose, Benjamin Bratt
Year: 2012

You never know what you’re going to get from a first time film actor.  They could have “it” or they could be dead wood.  And it’s especially unpredictable when they have no previous experience whatsoever.  Joel Evans had never acted before, never had a lesson, and yet was approached by Anita Doron and asked to audition for the lead role in The Lesser Blessed.  Evans is from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada, the same home town as author Richard Van Camp who wrote the novel of the same title from which the film is adapted.  Incidentally, the novel is Van Camp’s only full-length book.  So we have a writer who has only written the one book, an actor who has never acted, and a director who is roaming the streets looking for someone who might want to try being in a movie.  I wish I had known all this before I watched it, because it would have at least alerted me to the possibility that this whole film might be a complete failure and that I might want to avoid it.

The Movie

The film is based on the life, past, and angst of teenager Larry Sole.  Larry is a member of the Dogrib First Nation people, a native tribe from northwest Canada.  He and his mother live in Fort Simmer, where Larry attends the local high school and his mother obsesses over a man named Jed.  He is, in many ways, a substitute father, as Larry’s real dad is history.  A tragic event, which Larry calls his “accident”, is responsible in some murky fashion for his current position; new town, no dad.  But Jed has issues of his own, and will bolt into the bush whenever he is faced with confrontation, which is not what Larry needs right now.  He is a self-loathing mess, spending much of his time listening to heavy metal, practicing the drums, avoiding eye contact, and hiding his scars.  It’s not apparent at first why, but Larry has serious burn marks, and his “accident”, his father, his past, and his current troubles are all wrapped up in a knot that is likely never to come loose.
Enter trouble in three different forms, all more confident and volatile than Larry.  First, Juliet Hope, the angel of his daydreams.  Juliet represents all that is beautiful and perfect; her blond hair, her pale skin, her kind manner.  But she hides a disastrous desire to be loved that is not easy to fulfill.  Next, Darcy McManus, the joker/punk/bully/jerk who knows the secrets of Larry’s past.  Darcy picks on him relentlessly, frightening him with fire, and treating him as if he were less than dirt.  And finally, Johnny Beck, the new kid and the only person who seems to like Larry.  Johnny sticks up for him, teaches him to fight, makes him feel cooler than he’s ever felt before.  But this new-found confidence will lead to more trouble than it might be worth.  When the gorgeous Juliet falls for the suave Johnny, Larry becomes the third wheel.  And when the group begins to enter into the cool world of sex, drugs, and pseudo-adulthood, Larry finds himself in over his head, forced to confront all the issues that have held him back and stopped him from loving anyone, especially himself.

You can probably gather from the summary that the plot of The Lesser Blessed is a little bit contrived.  It just feels like we’ve seen it all before; the loner, the hot girl, the new kid, the big bully, the daddy issues, the weak mother, the high school teachers, the school dance.  It’s not like the film is 10 Things I Hate About You, but you get the point.  It’s a dramatic take on a tired storyline and the result is that it doesn’t feel very honest.  I wonder how the book reads, and if it feels more like the autobiography of Van Camp’s life, as opposed to the movie, which feels like a cheap knock-off.  If Larry is supposed to be Van Camp then that explains a little; perhaps these cliche things really did happen to him.  After all, cliche things are cliche because they happen.  But regardless, it just didn’t translate into a feature film, because this isn’t a big Hollywood production, which seems to be the only way we can forgive recycled plots.  Maybe that’s our problem and it’s a double standard, but that doesn’t change the fact that we expect something unique from a film festival movie.

With all the amateurs involved in this film, the director was even more important than usual.  There was no falling back on the talent of the veteran actor or the well-known novel or the original plot, because those things didn’t exist in this movie.  There was a lot riding on Doron’s shoulders as the only experienced player in the game.  Unfortunately, it seems like all the pressure got to her.  The movie was over-directed, quite simply, although I’m not sure if the alternative would have been any better.  The film was too reliant on an artificial mood created by the director and not enough on the emotions of the actors.  Again, I understand why, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.  The result was that every scene seemed so incredibly heavy and overbearing.  The music, the voice overs, the cold locale; everything was produced to be dramatic, and it was just too obvious.  Because you could see all the work that went into trying to make the movie believable, it was of course not believable.
There was one piece of the film that could have fixed the plot and direction problems, could have made them fade into the background, and that piece was Joel Evans.  As the center of all the action and emotion, a great performance from him would have swept away all my doubt in the production of the film and allowed me to really buy into the story.  Well, that didn’t happened.  Evans isn’t an actor.  He just isn’t, and although he looks the part, he was never up to the challenge of supporting such a complicated role and pivotal character.  He came off as more of a set piece than an actor, with a wooden performance that lacked any sort of believable emotion.  I was never rooting for Larry, never hoping his dreams would come true, and that’s a major problem.  He was even supported by a pretty nice cast; Benjamin Bratt giving perhaps the best true performance I have ever seen from him, and Adam Butcher playing Darcy the bully perfectly.  But it just wasn’t enough; you can’t really overcome a bad script, heavy-handed directing, and a lead actor who just seems to be phoning it in.


Video – With an aspect ration of 16:9 widescreen, the picture quality was just fine.  The video was produced and edited well, it just didn’t have a chance to shine.  Much of the movie is drab and cold, not really providing much opportunity for a high quality picture to show off.
Audio – The sound is done in 5.1 surround, so that’s fine.  But there are no audio options on the DVD; no language selections or sound selections.  There is, however, a Descriptive Video Track, which can be turned on to run with the film.  It provides a mix of the dialogue with some scene narration during natural pauses, intended to enhance the experience of the visually impaired.
Extras – There are a few good extras.  Interviews with the cast and crew, including Benjamin Bratt, Joel Evans, Kiowa Gordon, Chloe Rose, Tamara Podemski, Adam Butcher, Anita Doron, and Richard Van Camp.  And five trailers; Take Me Home, Looking For Palladin, The Sensation of Sight, Pearl Diver, and The Lesser Blessed.

Final Thoughts

Skip it. There just aren’t enough positives to recommend this film.  It wasn’t horrible, but it just had too many problems.  The directing needed to be lighter and the lead actor needed to be better, simple as that.  The video, audio, and extras were all fine, but unimpressive.  And that’s a good word to describe the whole film, as it didn’t leave me with much to remember.  Fondly, at least.

✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ – Audio
✰ ✰ – Extras
– Replay

Movie Review – Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader

Category : Movie Review

Director: Kevin O’Neill
Starring: Jena Sims, Ryan Merriman, Olivia Alexander
Year: 2012

When I first saw Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), it was on one of those late night movie marathon programs, like USA Up All Night.  It must have been the early 90s, so I would have been around 10.  For some reason I remember it as being risque, maybe because it was on so late and it was about a giant woman running around in a bikini.  Looking back at it, I highly doubt it was.  I never did see the remake, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1993) starring Daryl Hannah, which ironically would have been in theatres around the time I saw the original, but I always wanted to.  So when I saw Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader on Netflix, I figured I had to give it a shot.  Going into it, I knew it would have nothing to do with the other two, other than by having a giant female in it, but I didn’t care.  I knew I was gonna watch a throw-away movie, and did I ever.
The plot is as bad as you might imagine it will be by the title.  Cassie, a nerdy scientist, and her partner Kyle are hard at work in a college laboratory creating a rejuvenating product for women who want to look younger and more beautiful.  When Cassie fails to make the cheerleading team (a necessity if she wants her legacy mother’s approval and monetary support), she decides to become a human guinea pig for the new product, hoping that it will make her something more than the homely bore she’s always been.  Well, she gets her wish, but she never expected the side effects.  Cassie grows into a gorgeous and athletic woman, who happens to gradually reach 50 feet tall.  She and Kyle must race to find the antidote before the college, the military, and the rest of the cheerleading squad find out that the new “big thing” on campus is literally gigantic.
Oh my.  Part of me is glad that I saw this terrible film, and part of me is just sad.  I mean, I didn’t expect greatness, but someone could have put in some effort to make it more than complete crap.  The plot is, of course, ridiculous and sometimes funny, though usually just dumb.  I found it hard to actually watch with both of my eyes for fear that my brain might lose something important.  The acting was awful.  Jena Sims as Cassie was especially bad, and she wasn’t even that hot, which as far as I know was the only requirement for the role.  Her nemesis, Brittany, was actually pretty hilarious, as was Treat Williams in a nice little cameo, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.  I mean, it was a disaster, but I laughed a couple times, and the cast was made up of the typical co-eds-in-underwear that you might expect from a Van Wilder type comedy.  So it was at least partially entertaining if you like bad movies, but it would be a waste of most peoples’ time, and it was most likely a waste of a few of my brain cells.

My rating: ✰ ✰

Book Review – The Incredible Journey

Category : Book Review

Author: Sheila Burnford
Year: 1960

When I was ten I loved the movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.  It was about my favorite thing, dogs, with a cat thrown in.  I knew it was based on a book and that it was a pretty loose interpretation, but that didn’t bother me at the time because I had never read the novel.  The movie was based on the idea of companionship; the love the animals had for their human owners and also the love they had for each other, a bond of friendship that kept them together through a very difficult trek across a vast wilderness.  It spoke me, as a kid who loved animals, and I had no doubt that the book would have the same effect when I finally got around to reading it.  Well, here I am, almost thirty, and now I have read the book to my children and we all enjoyed it together.  After having watched the movie, the novel was all I imagined it would be and then some.
The story takes place in the sparsely populated forests of Canada.  The three animals are boarding with a writer, John Longridge, while their family is abroad in England.  They are Tao, the independent Siamese cat, Bodger the elderly English bull dog, and Luath the young Labrador retriever.  When Longridge goes on a hunting trip, Luath decides that he can wait no longer, that he must get back to his master by the most direct route possible; due west.  He takes his companions with him and acts as their leader, keeping Bodger going when it seems like the old dog can’t walk another step.  The trio fight against bears, battle constant hunger, cross raging rivers, and find friendship along the way in the most unlikely places.  Their mission is to get home, no matter how long it takes or what the cost.
It was an incredibly beautiful book, in many ways.  First, the story was touching and very realistic.  The animals weren’t humanized, they were written in a way that any pet owner can recognize as being truly accurate.  The love they showed for each other and for the humans in their lives reminded me of the love I had for my animals throughout the years.  I was pulling for them the entire way, hoping that they would make it against all odds.  And the writing was excellent as well.  At times it was almost poetry, describing the animals in nature, the way the land lay, the lonely people in a lonely place.  I was sucked into a world I have never seen, the rough landscape of the northern woods, and the danger that waits there for anyone who doesn’t know its secrets.  All in all, a very enjoyable book that deserves to be read early and often.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

Movie Trailer – Runner, Runner

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Anthony Mackie
Release: September 27th, 2013

I’m not a Justin Timberlake hater; I’ve seen him do some good work in some good movies.  Man, I even went to an *NSYNC concert and learned the dance moves.  But I’m not sure he can support this kind of role; it just looks a little over his head.  Add in Ben Affleck and you’ve got two very beautiful people who might not be the best at the acting.

Movie Review – This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Category : Movie Review

Director: Kirby Dick
Starring: Kirby Dick, John Waters, Becky Altringer
Year: 2006

As much as I like movies, it makes sense that I enjoy watching movies about movies.  This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a documentary about movies, or more specifically, about the way in which movies are rated.  Started in 1922, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was created to represent and protect the interests of the major movie studios (Disney, Sony, Paramount, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.).  It lobbies to protect copyrights, dissuades piracy, and is probably best known for its labeling system.  We’ve all seen the ratings before previews or on DVDs: G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17.  All films that wish to be distributed and advertised by a major film company must submit their movies to the MPAA, where they will be viewed and rated in secrecy.  This documentary went through the same process, with the hope of exposing the monopoly of power that one organization holds over filmmakers and audiences alike.
Kirby Dick set out to make a documentary about the highly secretive process in which films are rated by the MPAA.  While interviewing the filmmakers of some movies with high adult content (American Psycho, Boys Don’t Cry, Eyes Wide Shut), he discovered some interesting trends.  Movies with sexual themes are more strongly critiqued than ones with violent scenes.  Also, comedic sexuality is given a lesser rating that passionate sexuality.  Female pleasure is highly censored, even when done in a non-graphic way.  And we are made to guess and discover what the “rules” of the MPAA are because that information is secret.  Ratings are given without explanations, members’ identities are classified, and the entire organization is autonomous.  When private investigators attempt to uncover the identities of the raters and the manner in which films are judged, they discover that the MPAA is less a panel of “average American parents” and more a group of critics controlled by the film corporations and outside interest groups.  And when This Film Is Not Yet Rated goes under review for its own rating, the NC-17 stamp that it is labelled with is handed down with no answers given, no questions allowed.
This was an interesting documentary that gave me a little more insight into the process of film-making.  It was surprising to think about, when a movie is created and done, it still has to be approved and perhaps edited even further if a board of a dozen members doesn’t like some of its content.  Now, they can’t stop the movie from coming out, but no studio they represent will carry the movie without it having been rated by the MPAA, and an NC-17 rating for whatever reason will pretty much kill any chance at a profit.  So the subject matter was intriguing, but the movies did get a little boring after a while.  It turned into more of a gripe film than a documentary, as director after director told their story about how they didn’t understand their rating and how they were mad about it.  I got the point pretty early and the rest was just beating a dead horse.  But I did enjoy the attempt to infiltrate the “secret society” of the MPAA, and I do feel like I am more knowledgeable about the film industry now, so I have to say I liked the film for what it was, I just couldn’t really love it.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

Movie Trailer – The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Harald Zwart
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headley
Release: August 21st, 2013

What’s with these crappy tween movies?  Are they ever going to stop, or did someone tap into an inexhaustible market that doesn’t mind watching bad cinema?  I’ve seen that blond guy before; he was King Arthur in the TV miniseries Camelot, and he was awful.