It's time for installment 2 of Molo's Film Quickies. Wherein I review and rate each and every film I saw that month, even if it was a repeat viewing. Remember, the Molo scale goes up to 5 Molos, but few movies ever attain such a status. It's kind of like Rollingstone's music reviews, the rare 5-Molo review likely only comes after a 2nd viewing and time to reflect, I mean did anyone see a truly great movie in the last year? I sure haven't. I'm not even sure I saw any 4-Molo movies in the last year, but that's partly cause I didn't keep up..then again, having just watched several of the Oscar best film nominations, I'd say it was a pretty weak year for film overall, especially mainstream. Although, I'd give The Master 4 Molos, and Django and Chain, so there were some decent films....but I digress, and not in a very entertaining fashion.
Apologies, dear reader, here's the March Movie list: . (I watched a lot of films in March! Sadly, none in the theater, I need to remedy that)
Okay, Hollywood screenwriters, after watching this film I'd say we have now had enough movies written about writing movies to last at least a couple more generations. There's a point where it just gets annoying, and while this movie had the potential smarts, gumption, and certainly the cast, in the end it was just a weird, awkward, slow, and frustrating film. The most entertaining parts were the parts of pure fantasy, clearly laid out as such in the film, but every little bit of reality in the film just felt tried. 2012, dir/written by Martin McDonagh, stars Collin Farrell's eyebrows, Walken, Sam Rockwell, Harry Dean Stanton, Abby Cornish, Tom Waits, a rabbitt and several dogs, oh, and Woody Harrelson of course.
Easily the best movie I've seen about smearing shit over your cell walls. Steve McQueen's Hunger is harrowing and beautiful. You can almost smell the piss, shit and blood that these political prisoners endure. The whole story centers around early 80's IRA "terrorists" incarcerated and how they chose to continue their fight and protest, and yes a big part of deals with a hunger strike of Bobby Sands, gruesomely portrayed by Michael Fassbender, who loses all kinds of weight (reminiscent of Christian Bale in The Machinist) and generally makes you grimace over the last 15 minutes of the film. Do not see this on a full stomach. Steve McQueen is a very arty director, there is little dialog in his films and much visual, and it works, although it can be a bit too arty at times....I'm curious to see him really hit one out of the park, perhaps his next film, which stars Brad Pitt, and Fassbender again (his go-to guy, stared in McQueen's Shame) That film is about a kidnapping/slavery story, in America. I wonder if he'll every tackle a light-hearted subject? 2008, dir Steve McQueen, written by Edna Walsh, Steve McQueen. Stars Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Brian Milligan, Liam McManhon, and lots of other Irish guys.
Ah, the much heralded Argo. Talk of the Oscars. Ben Affleck robbed of a directorial nomination, but wins as producer of the Best Picture of the Year. Well, Argo was a pretty good, and interesting movie, very crisply done, but it wasn't the bee's knees. I did enjoy it though, I just wasn't blown away. Definitely worth a watch. Alan Arkin kicked ass. 2012, dir Ben Affleck, Stars Affleck, Walter White, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, the guy from Friday Night Lights and a bunch of other people.
Denzel plays a great drunk, he really nails it. There is some excellent banter between his character and Don Cheadle, amongst others. But this movie too easily falls into a boring story of alcoholic-in-denial-has-to-learn-hard-lessons-and-eventually,-finally-sees-the-light territory. However, the first 30 minutes, right through the crash scene, are fantastic. With John Goodman, for comic and substance relief. 2012, dir Robert Zemeckis (which might explain the big "lesson learned" type of ending, Stars Denzel, Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, etc.
I totally lol'd at this movie, that's pretty unusual for my humorless self. Is it a great film? Not at all, but it's pretty darn entertaining, silly, and relatively heartwarming. Other things I learned: Iron Lungs are still really really fucking creepy. However, when they have a cat on them they are a lot cuter. William H. Macy should never have long hair. Helen Hunt is still very fit. 2012, dir/writer Ben Lewin. Stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and a lot of 70s style shirts.
Snow on tha Bluff
Snow on tha Bluff is kind of a crack-dealer version of Exit at the Gift Shop. You can't tell what is real in the movie and what is acted. Parts of it even reminded me of Harmony Korine's Gummo. Very raw, very honest, but also very much a trick. But does it work? In this case, yes, absolutely. I was fascinated by the move, even when I had trouble understanding the street lingo of this Atlanta neighborhood. The movie is being sold as "you've never seen anything quite like it", and well, that's pretty much the case. But you should see it. 2011 Dir Damon Russell, Written by Russell, Curtis Snow, Starring Curtis Snow and friends.
Yes, this is a movie about MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, and no, I'm not a fan of this bloodsport (I am a fan of Bloodsport, sort of a pre-MMA, MMA tournament movie with JVCD, but I digress) But my word, this movie is so great, so underrated, so surprisingly sincere and simple in it's tale of 2 estranged brothers entering in a winner-take-all tournament, and dealing with their alcoholic father in the process. And yes, that's the one and only Nick Nolte in the roll of the father, a performance that is simply not to be missed. This was my 2nd viewing of Warrior and it retained it's value. Definitely a guys movie, for tough, sensitive, smart guys. 2011 Dir/Writter Gavin O'Conner Stars Tom Hardy, Nick Notle, Joel Edgerton and a bunch of really strong scary guys
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Great visuals in this film and a really sweet relationship shown between father and daughter...well sweet and difficult at times. However, the movie isn't so much a movie as it is a series of vignettes - which is to say there isn't much of a plot, and very little dialog. I'm not entirely sure why they gave an Oscar nod to the young girl, as she hardly says more than 5 lines in the whole movie, but she is tough and cute, so I guess that is good enough? In any case, I got bored with it after a while...it was a movie that really made me want to learn more about people that live like this, actually. It made me want to watch the documentary that it's based on, except that it's not actually based on any documentary that I'm aware of, but if it is, I'm totally watching that documentary. Cause that's a crazy/interesting life. With huge visions of beasts just to add childish whimsy to the whole thing. And lots of voice-over. 2012 dir Ben Zeitlin. Starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, lots of water and booze.
So rich guy goes for a limo ride across town to get a haircut despite various traffic snarls, rat protests, and threats to his life. In the process he sums up everything that is wrong with capitalism and vapid American culture as he slowly comes unhinged. He also loses hundreds of millions in the process. BLARG. I'm sure the Delillo book is much more witty, funny, satirical, etc, etc but this ends up just feeling like a poor 2010's version of American Psycho. No Huey Lewis and the News in this one, just stark blonds, fancy hair, and Juilette Binouche in compromising positions. I guess the point is that the future looks bleak for billionaire's playing with market metrics and such. Who cares? Cronenberg struck out on this one. 2012 dir Cronenberg Screenplay Cronenberg based on Don Delillo novel. Starring Robert Vampire Pattinson, Juilette Binoche, and a wasted Paul Giamatti.
End of Watch
Filmed documentary style, not unlike Snow on tha Bluff, and also about a gritty neighborhood and drug dealers....is this a new trend? Hand-held urban ghetto tales? At times, it feels over-the-top ridiculous...exaggerated at the least, which it is...but it's also brutally honest at times. That is except for the idea that Jake Gyllenhall would ever be a cop. I mean he plays it well, but he's just too pretty for gritty street work. The film is full of over the top violent visuals - it's not for the squeemish. I know a few people who would have to turn away. But its not violence strictly for for sensationalism, it's purposeful. There's just a lot of it. A lot. 2012 Dir/Writer David Ayer. Stars Jake Gyllenhall, Michael Pena,the freaking adorable Anna Kendrick and a knife in the eye.
Beauty is Embarrassing
This is a documentary about the artist Wayne White. I enjoyed it, Wayne's funny as hell and his word paintings are very smart and incredibly smart-ass. There's a lot of fuck you attitude...fight the man, I'm going to do my own thing. It makes for a fun and entertaining story, but at the same time I couldn't help but notice that this is a guy who has led a charmed live - his hard work paid off pretty early is what I'm getting at, so all his kind of stick it to the man stuff is a bit flat, when he made so much $ working for the man (the man in this case being Hollywood, mostly) which allowed him to pursue his more arty-art.
I'm just saying he's had it pretty good. But he's lead an interesting life and worked very hard to get to this point, and the doc delves into a lot of that. Wayne is the guy behind much of the set Pee-Wee's playhouse! He's a puppet freak for sure. His paintings seem almost at odds with some of this, but the main thing is he's a humorist. And the art world needs a lot more humor in it, so good for you Wayne, keep making them laugh.