Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Revenant (2015)

Today's film is The Revenant.  We finally get to see a film that Leo gets his Oscar for.

Wow!  Let's talk about how beautiful Argentina is.  The real story of Hugh Glass takes place near South Dakota and Canada, but it was too hot during the time of filming.  So they moved it way down south to a similar climate.  Isn't it amazing that the further south you go, it turns into winter? That's crazy.  This film had the most beautiful scenery, and it was 90% natural lit.  They only used artificial lights during campfire scenes.  This makes me really want to go camping down there.  Just gorgeous.

This film is the mostly true story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper up in the Dakotas.  He was attacked by a bear and left for dead by his group.  They even took several supplies and his gun so he was even worse off.  Through sheer determination, he somehow crawled 200 miles to the nearest fort and survived.  In real life, he was unable to do anything to the people who abandoned him, but in the film he gets his sweet revenge.

Leo really ramped up his acting skills in order to hopefully win an Oscar.  And it paid off.  Much of the time, he was alone in the woods, so he had no one to bounce off of. He couldn't even speak part of the time due to his throat injury.  And we still got to see the struggles he faced.  Amazing.

We don't know how historically accurate this is because, honestly, not much is written about Hugh Glass.  There is no record of any wife or children, but that doesn't mean there were none.  All we really know is what company he worked for, who was in his party, and that he survived a traumatic bear attack.  But his determination to survive against all odds is truly inspiring.  He is a true badass.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Godfather part II (1974)

Today's film is The Godfather part II.  This film is unique in two ways.  First, it is the only sequel that has won an Academy Award.  Second,  it is both a sequel and a prequel at the same time!

The problem with a film that is both a sequel and prequel is that you really really need to have watched the first Godfather film.  Or else you will be really lost.

The sequel part follows Michael Corleone, Vito's son and the new Godfather, as he moves his operation from New York to Nevada.  He has many enemies and his marriage is falling apart.  He goes with his so-called associate to Cuba, before the revolution hits, but is wary he is trying to assassinate him.

The prequel part follows the original Godfather, Vito, as he grows up in Italy in the early twentieth century and later escapes to America.  He is a honest, hard-working man that slowly changes into the Godfather that we see in the first movie.  Vito is played by Robert de Niro, who actually lived in Sicily to learn the correct dialect.  That is some real dedication right there.

A lot of the cinematography is very dark, and the colors are mostly brown.  Brown scenery, brown costumes, brown everything.  It's like the sepia filter on instagram.  They did go a little overboard on it.  The acting was really good, though.  So I will give it an 8/10.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Today's film is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which comes to us from Germany.  Well, it's not really a plot-driven film, it's more of a character study.

Petra is like the worst kind of person.  The whole movie takes place in her bedroom/studio apartment.  She rarely leaves her bed, even to entertain guests.  That's really weird.  She treats her assistant like a slave, who does nothing but help her.  Petra is rude and ungrateful to everyone.

Petra works as a fashion designer, and much of the film seems to be showing off a slew of bizarre outfits, from all the characters really.

She falls in love at first sight with Karin, a beautiful blonde, who is married by the way. (!!!)  She asks her to move in and somehow Karin agrees.  Sure, Karin sleeps with her but doesn't feel the same way.  She's just using Petra like Petra uses her assistant.  Petra is so smitten that she even pays for the plane ticket for Karin to go see her husband.

Does Petra learn from her experience?  It doesn't look like it.  In the end, even her assistant leaves her.  If you enjoy watching character studies, or character-driven stories, this would be a good film for you.  I will give it a 6/10.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life Update

So I've been on bedrest since I last posted.  I haven't been able to return to work and have spent most of my time in the hospital.  But now I've come home with my new addition, Jacob Finn!  He was born on October 4th and weighed only 4 lbs 9 oz.  He's even smaller than my daughter when she was born.  We've been relaxing at home since we got here.  Here's some pics of him with my husband.

Right after he was born, with my husband.

Now that we are home, I am a full time mom.  Maybe I will return to my job when they are older, but maybe not.  I will return to regularly posting soon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Umberto D. (1952)

Today's film is Umberto D..  It follows the story of a pensioner who is struggling to make ends meet.  As the films opens, we see a huge gathering of old people protesting their meager pensions.  It seems that Umberto has the worst deal because he has debts that his pay simply can't cover.  It is interesting that none of the other people have debts like this.  Does Umberto have any kind of savings?

He gets so desperate that he tries to sell off his possessions, like his watch and books.  But he doesn't having many possessions to sell.  He doesn't even have his own place - he rents out a room at a boarding house.  His landlady has increased his rent and now demands back rent too.  And she wants it all or nothing.  He doesn't have that kind of money.

Umberto doesn't seem to have any family, but he does have his beloved dog, Flike.  No matter what happens, Flike is there for him.  Umberto goes to the hospital a bit for his sore throat, and his landlady purposefully left the door open so Flike would escape.  While Umberto was gone, the landlady took the liberty of redoing his room.  The workers not only ripped off most the wallpaper, they did a really bad job.  And they left gaping holes in the wall too.  These people are worse than my HOA.

So now Flike is gone, but Umberto finds him at the shelter.  We witness some more sad scenes such as a petowner that can't afford the fee to release his dog, dooming him to the gas chamber, as well as seeing the dogs being carted to their deaths.

Umberto does have one friend in this world, Maria the housekeeper.  She is very young and is now pregnant.  So she is at the beginning of her life and starting a new life, while Umberto is nearing the end of his.  They both really need to leave the toxic environment of the boarding house in order to have a better life.

Umberto gathers what little money he has and leaves the boarding house.  He can't bring himself to beg on the streets, so he contemplates suicide.  He tries to leave Flike at a kennel, but is displeased with the poor conditions so he changes his mind.  Later, he almost gets hit by a train, which really frightens Flike.   He'd rather play with his stick and toys, so the film ends with them playing together.  We don't know what else happens to them but we hope they find somewhere to live.  The film is mostly a commentary on society forgetting elderly people.  Today we have more programs to take care of them, and Adult Protective Services can help those who are truly in need.  We have come a long way since the 50's.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stagecoach (1939)

Today's film is Stagecoach.  It's supposed to be one of the first decent Westerns.  There have been a lot of Westerns before and after this movie, and honestly most of them aren't that good.

I actually saw this as more of a road trip movie rather than a Western.  Obviously the setting is in the Wild West and there are cowboys and Indians.  But really, this could have taken place anywhere.  Basically, this random group of people are traveling from one town to another and are taking a stagecoach to get there.  There's two ladies, one of whom has a baby during the voyage, a bunch of guys, and John Wayne is there too.  They are being escorted by soldiers through Apache territory, but for part of the voyage they are on their own.

I think this movie is different from most Westerns because it mainly focuses on the interactions between the travelers.   There is a lot of good acting going on, and there aren't too many of the stereotypes we see in all Westerns.

However, one of the last scenes is them being chased by weapon-wielding Apaches, which adds a lot of excitement to the film.  Most of my in-laws are from the Apache tribe and still live out west,  so it's nice to see my husband's family represented in film.  Oh, wait, they're the bad guys in the film, never mind.  My husband still isn't going to watch it since he's very anti black and white film.  But I would like to know his opinion.

After they, for the most part, safely arrive in town, the focus shifts to John Wayne's character.  The people who had him captured for reward reasons let him get his vengeance and then let him escape with his fiancee.  Oh, so he's all of a sudden a good guy now?  All that effort to keep him and now he's just going to leave? Like that?  Come on. For real yall.  This movie wasn't that bad, so I will give it a 7/10.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) (1962)

Today's film is The Exterminating Angel.  It's supposed to be a comedy but its more of an absurd comedy than a laugh-out-loud comedy.  I don't understand absurd comedy at all.

So these rich people are at a party, and they all end up spending the night.  The next day no one is able to leave the room.  As time passes, they start running out of food and water and their situation grow more dire.

I get that it's supposed to be about the Spanish bourgeoisie and the whole situation with the civil war and communism.  But how can we relate to this film today?  When I watched this film, I thought about comfort zones.  A lot of people can't leave a bad job or bad boyfriend because they are trapped in their comfort zone.  They're too afraid of the unknown, of what else could be out their that they can't leave.  The same way with the party goers in the film, none of them could leave the room.  In addition, no one on the outside could enter the house to rescue them.  That's because there is no one else to pull you out of your comfort zone, you have to do it yourself.

Eventually they learn the secret to escaping the room and get out.  But the story doesn't end there.  Another group of people get stuck at a church.  These two incidences show that all their money and faith get them nowhere in life.  I didn't find this funny but I found it unique.  I will give it an 8/10.