Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Netflix News #1 - JVCD, Wendy and Lucy, The Sky Crawlers

The Netflix News keeps you informed on what you should and shouldn't move to the top of your queue. Or at least that's the idea. (really it's just a different way to bundle all the reviews I do on this blog-to try to be a bit more organized)

JVCD The Muscles from Brussels has seen some lean years. I think one can mark the downtrend in Jean Claude's career with his co-starring roll in Doubleteam, alongside Dennis Rodman. Or maybe it was Timecop. Or who knows. Maybe we all just grew up. And by "we all", I just mean all us young boys who grew up on Bloodsport, Kickoxer, Universal Soldier, etc etc...JVCD was a delight to my adolescent dreams of doing the splits while kicking ass, and then doing the splits while dancing (Kickboxer, really). So here's the Belgium star, now 47, broke, losing his family, losing his career, and making a "serious" film about these matters, in his native tongue. And it's great! He reminds me of a washed-up version of Vincent Gallo in this movie. Will you get it if you weren't a fan of his growing up? Doubt it. But you know what, give it a shot anyway. The very Dog Day Afternoon-ish story about an action star on his last legs trying to salvage his life and career but getting caught up in a fame can be horrible-doused hostage robbery plot will resonate with all. Long live Jean Claude! 3.5 Molos

And for something completely different, rent Wendy and Lucy. Written and directed by Kelly Reichardt as part of her movies about her dog series...okay not really, but it kind of feels that way-because one of the 2 main characters in this film is Lucy, Kelly's dog. Just like one of the main characters in her acclaimed last feature, Old Joy, was also her dog Lucy. Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, in Old Joy Lucy plays a very much tiny role in that quiet, strong little film. In Wendy and Lucy, though, Lucy gets her chance at co-starring. Or so it seems, until Lucy gets lost and Wendy (Michelle Williams) spends most of the film looking for her and assessing her life in the process. That's a pretty boring sounding synopsis, although accurate. But the film has a lot of life and subtlety in this little tale of a lost dog. It sticks with you long after you wonder what exactly you were watching. 3.5 Molos

The Sky Crawlers, on the other hand, is just plain old boring. Jesus what a snoozer. I love a good anime but this movie was so utterly concerned with looking cool it forgot to wake us up. It comes from the team that did Ghost in the Shell a few years back-which was awesome, if incomprehensible. The Sky Crawlers is neither. It's just pointless. 1.5 Molos

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