Movie of the Day – Casa De Mi Padre

You know I think Will Ferrell has it fairly easy in getting comedy movies made.  He just has to come up with a premise, sports or generally weird in concept, and then basically say “and I am the star”.  I have to believe that this is the only reason why Will Ferrell got Casa de mi Padre made, it is a concept film that parodies/pay homage to Spanish Soap Operas or Telenovelas, while having Will Ferrell speak in Spanish the entire time.  You know what, I love me some telenovelas and I was pretty interested in seeing what a full blown, comedic concept like will pan out to be.

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Movie of the Day – Ladron Que Roba a Ladron

I feel that I have vastly underrepresented my Mexican heritage here with a lack of Spanish language films, I plan to rectify that at some point.  For now, I take one small step towards equality with a Mexican heist film that plays out like a Telemundo version of the Ocean’s series.  That isn’t a terrible comparison, as I really like the series, but it could have used a bit more Sabado Gigante and scantily clad Mexican women.  Just saying.

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Movie of the Day – Delicatessen

So to be frank, this is one of the odder choices I have made for a Movie of the Day post.  I mean if you watched the trailer, do you even know what the movie is about?  I could post the second trailer of the movie and I am certain that it wouldn’t even help.  In fact, here is the original trailer of the movie for you to see:

Did you get anything from that trailer.  I certainly didn’t understand what the trailer was trying to convey until I sat down and watched the movie, oh so many years ago.  Sometimes we demand a lot from a movie.  Competent directing, story, decent acting, a fluid pace and maybe some action or semblance of action.  In essence it is a lot to ask for, but there are some movies that have this ability to presents us with a setting, unique characters and we just go along with what happens.  Sure we piece together the story as we go along and it might not make a bit of sense, but the story is there based around the characters that inhabit the sets.  Delicatessen is a movie that revolves around the eccentric characters that Directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet created for a movie about love and relationships, albeit a bit weird in that all the story plots come from the characters themselves.

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Trailers of the Week – Drive & Saving Private Perez

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, you got to be excited about trailers, I mean they are the best part of a movie and I am bringing you trailers without having to sit through a movie!  Alright, so maybe getting trailers without a movie is bad, but just read my most recent Movie of the Day post and you can just watch that immediately after this post.  Two more trailers for your enjoyment which will cover Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film Drive and the self proclaimed #1 film in Mexico, Saving Private Perez.

Drive:

Isn’t Ryan Goslin so dreamy?  I mean badass, yeah fucking badass playing a stunt driver by day, then getaway driver by night.  I like the premise of the movie, I love the cast of this film (Ryan Goslin, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, and Ron Perlman), but most of all it is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.  Nicolas Refn is one of my favorite up and coming directors, mainly for his work on Pusher Trilogy.  The Pusher Trilogy is not that shitty Chris Evans flick Push, but a stylish Dutch Gangster film.  Utterly impressive and engaging in its story, those films got me interested in his work, which then led me to the film Bronson.  Anyways, I like his work, I like the cast and I am excited about seeing Drive.

Saving Private Perez:

Tenemos una película que se trata de algún cártel de la droga llamativo, de ir a Irak para salvar al hermano de los jefes, y todo porque a la abuela que quiere y es una película de lengua y mejilla sobre la actual guerra … 02 de septiembre no puede llegar lo suficientemente pronto.  Una de las cosas más interesantes de la película, además de la comedia de humor negro y absurdo de la película, es que esto parece más grindhouse en la naturaleza de las películas grindhouse típico. Definitivamente soy un fan de apoyo a las películas extranjeras que van fuera del género típico que se meten pulg.

Es genial ver una película mexicana que no trata de amor (Y tu mamá también), las duras realidades de la vida de México (Amores Perros) o el slapstick, la comedia degradante (cualquier programa de Telemundo). Estamos llegando a ver una comedia pan muertos que se burla de la gravedad de la guerra, por tener carteles de la droga extracto de uno de los suyos de una guerra en curso.

In short, this looks wonderfully hilarious and a refreshing release from Mexico.

Trailers of the Week – The Tree of Life and 13 Assassins

Another week down, another batch of trailers to talk about.  I know that the new Thor, Harry Potter and Transformer trailers were released this week.  I am sure that everyone has seen them already.  So I decided to pick up on a few trailers that are making the rounds as well from some incredibly talented directors.

The Tree of Life:

A very highly anticipated movie from a director that is rather reclusive in nature.  Terrence Malick has a career that has spanned over 4 decades, but has only directed 5 movies.  A lot of people wait in anticipation for his next film, some of which are The Thin Red Line and The New World.  His work is impressive and the trailer for The Tree of Life, is no different.  Beautiful imagery and stunning cinematography, Terrence tells the story of life and pursuit to understanding the world that we live in.  The movie looks at the life of one individual and the growth and understanding of the world and life that he will live.  We see the amazement and intriguing world through the eyes of the individual as a child.  The world is such a fascinating place to live and as we were once children, we can relate to that sentiment.  The movie progresses and the child soon sees the harsh reality of life; sickness, suffering and death.  The movie then takes us to the individual as an adult, one that essentially lost all the bewilderment that life brought and becomes another soul in the grand scheme of life.

I am eagerly awaiting this movie to come to theater.  I love everything that Terrence Malik has made and this looks like an incredibly moving story with gorgeous visuals.

13 Assassins:

If you read my review over Shogun Assassin, then you already know how I feel about this movie.  Let me tell you if you are not familiar with my love for samurai movies.  ahem….THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE THE BEST MOVIES OF THE YEAR.  This is a movie coming from the mind of Takashi Miike about a band of samurai assassins and their quest to kill a ruthless young Lord before he ascends to a higher standing in Feudal Japan.  The 13 Assassins know they have one shot to kill the Lord or all will be lost.  So with the stakes set high, this movie is ready to fucking kick ass.  Everything that I have heard and read about this movie is insane.  Many critics are placing this as one of the best action movies of the decade and one of Miike’s best work.  What you see in the trailer is what you will get in the movie, as the final showdown between the Lord’s army and the Assassins is a giant 45 minute action sequence.

This movie is being release TODAY!  Sadly though, only in select theaters.  (Screw you New York and Los Angeles).  Fear not though since the movie is already available OnDemand and I know what I am doing this weekend.

Movie of the Day – Sukiyaki Western Django

I am in the mood for a little western today.  Western films to me always seemed like the American answer to a lot of Samurai films.  Both genres usually deal with a lone gunman as opposed to a lone swordsman.  You usually have an oppressive sheriff or rival gang plaguing a small western town.  In samurai movies you get oppressive lords or rogue ronin warriors terrorizing a small village.  A lot of the parallels in these genre movies is more of a product of each culture that it was developed.  So as with every genre of film out there, the chance of genres being mashed together is always an exciting prospect.  Sukiyaki Western Django is a melding of both the Samurai and Western genres, with a big mix of over the top gun play and classic spaghetti western tropes.

Now Sukiyaki isn’t the first movie to do this Asian take on the Western genre.  South Korea produced a kick-ass version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly with their own The Good, The Bad, and The Weird.  I also covered the Thai throwback movie Tears of the Black Tiger, which was a mixture of spaghetti western and classical Thai action movies of the 60’s.  What I love about these Asian takes on the spaghetti western genre is that they have absolutely nothing to lose in terms of what they can do with the genre.  They can throw ridiculous shootout scenes, over the top villains and unique backgrounds to make their take on the genre their own.

The story of Sukiyaki is pretty straightforward in terms of the western genre.  The backdrop of the movie is centered around an actual historical feud between two warring clans in Japan, the Genji and Heikie clans.  So movie the movie forward to include it in the Western setting, you have two clans fighting over a particular province.  A nameless gunman waltz into town and decides to help a local prostitute to get revenge on the warring gangs for the crimes they have committed.  Naturally this gunman helps out, he intervenes in the gangs war and finally gets swept up in the huge battle.

Pretty cut and dry in terms of story line, but what the movies lacks in intricate story telling, the movie makes up for in crazy action scenes.  If there is one thing that director, cult film icon Takashi Miike, can do and that is over the top violence and action.

Sukiyaki is an incredible spectacle of action set piece after action set piece.  Miike takes the spaghetti western genre and just amps it up with ridiculous guns, samurai sword combat and just general mayhem.  The battles that takes place between both faction just progresses to a point where it become a video game and you just wanna pick up a controller and join the fray.  Overall it is the action that is the big focal point of the movie.  The setting and background set pieces are wonderful to look at and have a very simplistic, but effective western look to it.

My biggest complaint of the movie though is the acting.  Miike made the weird choice to have all their native Japanese actors and actresses speak in English, not Japanese.  What you get in the movie is just choppy and garbled line delivery from most of the actors.  They are not native English speakers, so when the movie is an homage to spaghetti westerns and it includes certain western phrases, it is not effective in the least.  Why Miike decided to go this route with shooting the movie is lost on me.  They do provide subtitles throughout the movie, so not sure why they didn’t just have the actors speak Japanese.

If you can get past the fact that the movie is spoken in English, when clearly it shouldn’t be, this is an incredibly enjoyable movie.  If you love westerns and action flicks, this film delivers it and more.  I love the mix of gun play and sword play when it comes to the final action scenes.  I think Miike does a great job in making a fun and funky western movie and always adds his little touch of flair to the movie.   Put it in your Netflix list and sit back and enjoy some crazy western movie.

Movie of the Day – Dogtooth

Alright, if you were able to make it through the trailer of this movie then read on.  If you were revolted by the trailer and the subject matter it showed, then this movie will not be for you in the slightest.  I didn’t know what I was getting into when I just decided to watch this on Netflix a few nights ago.  I remember hearing about Dogtooth being nominated for an Oscar this year and was perplexed by the entry of the Greek film.  A lot of film blogs were also perplexed by its inclusion given its graphic subject matter.  Dogtooth came out in 2009, so it took almost two years for it to garner the attention it has and this added to my intrigue.

I am not certain where I should begin with this movie.  First is the classification of the movie.  To me, this is an extremely dark “comedy”, drama, and horror movie rolled into one film.  I use horror in more of the shock value that the movie adds.  It isn’t gory, but the violence that takes place in the movie and what you see in the trailer is just visceral and real.  The shock and horror come from how casual it takes place int he movie and that is frightening.

I really can’t give a plot synopsis over the movie, since the writing style and plot jumps around a bit.  Best I can say is that the movie centers around a Greek family and their lives in isolation.  The family is comprised of a mother, father, two daughters and a son.  The mother and father have isolated the children from the outside world, basically molding their children into this deranged ideal of perfection.  The children are told that they would be able to leave the confines of the house only if their “dogtooth” comes out.  Only then will they leave the house. For a more complete synopsis click here.

My synopsis doesn’t really dive into the psychological aspects of the movie.  The parents of the children are deranged, even if they feel that they are well intentioned.  The parents want their children to fear the world and in a sense, be dependent on the parents for comfort.  The parents incorrectly teach the kids word meanings, “zombies” mean to them “a small yellow flower”.  There is even the scene with the small cat and the father explaining that it is the most dangerous creature on Earth.  The parents even control the base needs of all grown up teens or adults.  The father goes to great lengths to satisfy the sexual needs of the son by bringing in an outside female to do the deed.  The parents are striving to create perfectly dependent children.  Shaping them to fit into their life, such as the wedding anniversary scene.

It really is hard to describe this film.  A lot of the examples I have given take place at different points in the movie, so the continuity of these examples are all over the place.  Overall I found myself both engaged and shocked by the movie.  The violence, the tense family moments and just the overall tone of the movie was something that took me by surprise.  I don’t want to deter people from watching this movie.  I think everyone should view the movie at some point.  This is a great Greek film and showcases the talent that is rarely seen by most people since Greek cinema isn’t this powerhouse in the film world.  It is a beautifully shot movie and stylish.  I think the way the director frames a lot of the movie helps enhance what we see, whether that is the violence or the way the parents lord over their children.  You get scenes where the parents are bestowing some life lesson to the kids, but the framing of the scene doesn’t show the parents face, but rather a faceless entity that commands them.

I will say this movie is not for everyone.  I have seen a lot, A LOT of movies in my time and this is one where I found it uneasy to watch at certain points.  Hell I like Lars von Trier films and those are considered very difficult movies to watch, Anti-Christ being right up there in visceral movie category.  If you are feeling up to the task, Dogtooth brings to light the dysfunctional nature of families with just over the top, scathing scenes of violence.  Some describe the movie as a satire on the family structure and teachings we can bestow on young minds.  We believe that the safest place to shield us from the horrors of the outside world is with the family.  Dogtooth teaches you to fear family.

The movie is available on Netflix to stream so do yourself a favor and give it a look.  I think this is a movie that has to be experienced and talked about.

Trailers of the Week – Another Earth and The Silent House

Since I am starting to get more and more comfortable with posting a Movie of the Day.  I started thinking about branching out more within the realms of film.  I already did my first official movie review on Hanna, but now I want to start discussing and bringing attention to movies that are not in theaters yet.  So I am starting a Trailers of the Week posting to showcase a few movie trailers that have caught my eye either online or attached to the beginning of movies.

This is the first posting and hopefully I will do one every Friday from here on out.  Let’s get started!!!

Another Earth:

This movie has been gaining a lot of early buzz at film festivals.  A new, refreshing sci-fi movie to come out that isn’t about alien invasions or even intergalactic space travel.  Another Earth tells the story of, well, another earth that exists close to our earth.  Now I don’t want to get into the science of this movie and deep thoughts about parallel planets, but the trailer is absolutely effective in what it is trying to tell.  The movie seems more like human endeavor story than anything else.  In the opening of the trailer you see a scientist contacting the other earth and finding out that her parallel self is also on the other line.  The notion of wanting to know our other self on that second earth is fascinating.  The main character of the movie, questions her other life.  One in which her past decisions might have not played on the other earth.  The somber and evocative music grounds the movie to a more human interest movie.  We look at our lives and think maybe our life is different there.  Is our other life perhaps married to the woman who originally got away from us?  Am I living a different life, working a different job, or being the opposite of what I am?  I hope that this movie gets a wide release soon as I can’t stop watching the trailer again and again.  A very beautifully put together trailer and it has me on edge as to what is in store for our viewing pleasure.

The Silent House:

Now I posted before about my love hate relationship with horror movies.  I am not into the gore aspect of movies or the shock value that comes with them.  It is always refreshing to see interesting movies in the horror genre that don’t rely on gore or violence to be scary.  In comes The Silent House, a film from Argentina that was shot in 2010 is now starting to gain a lot of traction after some successful film festival showings.  The thing that makes this movie interesting is that it is a 79 minute horror movie, all shot in one continuous take.  I want you to think about that for a second, one long 79 minute take.  The sheer amount of precise acting, pacing, and directing needed to pull something like this off is staggering.  Also, the movie looks genuinely frightening.  I will be waiting for a potential distribution here and hope to enjoy this feat of film making.

Movie of the Day – Tears of the Black Tiger

After watching the trailer for this Thai film, you probably have a lot of questions. I certainly did after first viewing the movie. Mainly the question was “What the hell did I just watch?” This is understandable really as for most people, we are only familiar with Thai movies that involve some sort of fighting or horror themes to them…really though just the fighting themes as evident by the breakout Ong Bak movies. But this has to be one of the most unique films/homages/parody to ever really come out of the Thailand, at least from what I have seen in my movie viewing time.

So what exactly is this movie? Well from the dialogue free trailer, this is a melodramatic spaghetti western. Now when i say parody and homage, it’s not the homage to contemporary spaghetti westerns done by Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah, but homages to older Thai movies of the 1950s. I am no expert of Thai films, so I read up on what the director was influenced by when he made this movie. Apparently during the 60s, cowboys were a very prominent figure in Thai cinema. There were big action movies (in Thailand) that had many western style shootouts.

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