Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Movie of the week:

Everybody is fascinated with terrorists these days. What goes on in their heads as they lay in wait and plan their own suicide?

Malli, is a young woman in Sri Lanka. She has been part of the rebels since she was a small girl. She is hard core. When she volunteers for a suicide mission, her friends are envious of her. She is to be taken to a small village where an important VIP is scheduled to visit. The women there will place garlands of flowers around his neck. When it's Malli's turn, she will place her garland and then detonate a belt of plastic explosives under her clothes. But, while she is laying in wait, she begins to wonder if there aren't things - important things - to live for.

It's a fascinating moral dilemma and it's beautifully filmed. The language is Tamil (plus some Hindi in there) with subtitles in various languages.


Monday, June 26, 2006


From the Archive: 2/28/2005
Strangest damn movie of the week.

When I was a teenager, there was a theater in my town that on weekends, would show movies that started at midnight. These would usually be what would now be called "indie films". Strange freakin' movies that would appeal only to those bleary-eyed denizens of the night that were still out and about after midnight. Quite often, the experience could be enhanced by an "altered state of mind". I think that the theater manger counted on this effect to pack the house. And packed it was, almost every Friday and Saturday for the midnight freak fest. If THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD had been around at that time, it would definitely have been shown there.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is the strangest damn movie of all time, and for me, that's saying a lot!

"OK, so what's so strange about it? ", you may ask. First, it's the look. It's grainy faded look is reminiscent of the silent movie era (so is the dramatic overacting). Second, it's the complete absurdity of it. "Absurd!", you say. "How so?" Let's see if I can summarize. It's set in Winnipeg during the great depression. Winnipeg has been declared the "Sorrow Capitol of the World". The local beer baroness holds a competition to find the saddest music in the world and offers a $25,000 prize. Musicians from every country descend on the town to compete in a series of musical performances that are about as insane as they come. Contestants are paired off against each other and the winner of each round get to slide down a big chute into a vat of beer.

Third, it's the characters. There's the beer baroness, Lady Port-Huntly, who has no legs. How she lost her legs is one of the funniest revelations in the movie (did I mention that it's a comedy), and how she gets them back is one of the funniest sight gags in recent cinema. There are the Kents. Three contestants from three different countries, but they're all in the same family. And then there's the mysterious Narcissa, an amnesiac-phychic-nympho-maniac. She makes predictions based on advice from her telepathic tapeworm.

As a bonus, there's an extra short film on the DVD called "Sissy Boy Slap Party" that's priceless.

So here we go. Top 10 reasons to rent and watch THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD.

  1. You don't so much watch it as "experience" it
  2. If you're looking for something different, this is about as different as they come. Of course, if you're not looking for something different, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
  3. It's un-freakin-believable.
  4. If you explain the plot to strangers, they'll think that you've flipped and gone insane. You may indeed get out of military service this way.
  5. If you normally rent your movies at Blockbuster, they may not have it. Insist that they get it. Speak to the manager. Make a big fuss in front of the other customers. Go back every day and insist that they get it. They may eventually tire of you asking and get the movie in. Then go borrow it from the library (yes! the library).
  6. Sissy Boy Slap Party.
  7. There are generally two types of people. There are the people who will laugh throughout this movie, and then there are the people who will just stare and shake their heads and say, "What the hell just happened?". Take bets before the movie as to which type you are. This gives an added dimension of risk to the movie experience.
  8. You were just going to waste those 2 hours watching mindless TV anyway.
  9. If you don't watch TV, and #8 doesn't apply to you, then ......... You were just going to waste those two hours on self improvement and personal growth. Did I mention "Sissy Boy Slap Party"?
  10. This is where I quote statistics as to how many people I've recommended this to have absolutely loved this movie. But the truth is that I've never been able to convince anyone to watch it. So here's your chance to be the first. Run now, I'll wait.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Movie of the week:

I do believe that this is the runningest movie ever. It is more runninger than "Marathon Man". It is more runninger than "Chariots of Fire". It is even more runninger than Arnold Schwarzeneggar's "The Running Man", and that was a pretty running movie.

The Plot: Lola runs. She has to. She just got a call from her boyfriend who has lost a big bag of mob money. He has just 20 minutes to find it or come up with more or they will surely kill him. Lola runs. She wants to help. She doesn't know where she's going or what she's going to do. She's literally thinking on the fly. She runs in real time, that is, the 20 minutes passes by in 20 minutes of viewing.

So right now you're thinking, "this is a really short movie". In 20 minutes, she will either save him or he'll be dead, end of story. And in a sense, that's right. The story lasts about 20 minutes (give or take). BUT, what the director does is interesting. He shows the same story over again, then he shows it a third time. Each time, something small changes at a critical point which alters the outcome. Have you ever just caught a bus and wondered what would have happened if you missed it? Ever wonder what if you'd arrived at that intersection a few seconds earlier? This movie explores just that.

So, put on your jogging suit and your sweat band and rent RUN LOLA RUN for a good workout.

  1. It's in German with English subtitles (or Spanish subtitles, if you prefer. I don't know - you might have your reasons).
  2. It's damn running. It might even be too running for some viewers.


From the Archive: 1/10/2005

Don't try this at home!

A young man, with a crappy job, underappreciated by his girlfriend, and no respect from the community, ties large helium balloons to his deckchair and sails off. He lands someplace far away, where nobody knows him. In this place, he finds all the things he never had. He's is the same person, but nobody there knows that. He is indeed a mystery.

There is a cute romantic subplot (or is it the main plot?), and a definite Forest Gump kind of quality. It would be very hard not to like this movie. It's a lot of fun, just like movies should be.

As a bit of trivia, here is a list of other movies in which flying off on a balloon powered deckchair plays a major part:


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Movie of the week:

When Edward D. Wood was alive, he had two passions. One was women's clothing (no comment). The second was making movies. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on your point of view), he wasn't very good at it. He is credited for making some of the worst movies ever made, including what is considered the absolute worst movie ever, "Plan 9 From Outer Space". This movie is so bad that it's gone so far past bad that it's actually pretty good. There are fan clubs and conventions held around the world each year to celebrate its badness. I'm not recommending that movie ---- yet.

However, what IS a good movie is this biopic of Ed Wood's and his strange cast of characters and their film career together. Stars Johnny Depp no less. Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for this roll, plays Bela Lugosi (yes, the Dracula guy).

Ed Wood's approach to movie-making was to throw everything you could think of at it. Let's start with, er.......monsters, yes monsters, now let's add aliens, then er...............hey, how about vampires?

So, you ask, why should you see this movie?
  1. Ed wood was a legendary figure
  2. Strange and goofy - all with a straight face
  3. Black and white is the only true film medium
  4. I was just joking about #3.
  5. Oscar winning performances
  6. Johnny Depp in an angora sweater
  7. You just can't believe films were made this way (don't worry, nobody made film's this way except Ed Wood.
  8. For extra effect, try watching "Plan 9 From Outer Space" before watching "ED WOOD"
  9. Movies about movie-making are cool. It's like holding a mirror in front of another mirror, and looking down into infinity.
  10. I was only mildly joking about #3

Monday, June 12, 2006


From the Archive: 2/17/2005

Directed by the Polish brothers (that's their name not their ethnicity - well, actually, I suppose they could also be Polish, I don't know, I didn't ask. How cool would that be?).

Fraught with symbolism, it's all enigmatic and stuff. Makes you wonder if the Quabbin Reservoir started out this way.

Basic story line: In the mid-50's, the people of the town of Northfork are forced to move because their town is to be flooded for a new dam. A group of men are sent out to convince the last hold-outs that moving would be a really really really good idea.

This movie might be a bit slow and confusing, but so what? It's not confusing if you pay attention (yes, it's that kind of movie). Besides, it looks cool, and everything means something.

I liked it because it was an unusual film. There is a lot going on below the surface, if you care to look and every shot seems to just linger long enough for you to take it in. Not many movies take the time to do that. The film was made as a work of art rather than a money-maker. If you need to know more about it, the link below will take you to Roger Ebert's review of the movie.


Film critic Roger Ebert's review of NORTHFORK.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Movie of the week:

This is quickly racing up the charts of my favorite movies. I'm not quite sure how to describe it. That is, I don't think there's a category that it would easily fit into. Is it me, or am I just drawn to movies that are hard to describe? I will tell you this: a stranger, more eclectic group of characters, you will not find in any other film. I think the movie, BRAZIL, might come close, as does THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. ....... and anything else it may or may not be, it definitely is a comedy, sorta.

There is something amazing to see in almost every frame. I don't think you're meant to take it all in at once. Instead it blends together to create a surreal atmosphere. There is not a boring moment in the entire film. So, in the interest of using bullet items whenever possible, here are the top 10 reasons why you should rent and watch DELICATESSEN.

  1. It's damn funny.
  2. It was made by the same team that brought you such fine films as AMELIE and CITY OF LOST CHILDREN. Look for them soon in this blog.
  3. Evokes a different world to get lost in.
  4. Unforgettable characters.
  5. A feast for the eyes.
  6. Impress your friends and co-workers with your eclectic movie choice.
  7. They just don't make 'em like this (well, except for these guys).
  8. I can't think of a #8.
  9. It certainly beats summer theater fare and most certainly, television.
  10. You can watch it at home and pause it whenever you have to get up to go to the bathroom or to get something to eat. The popcorn is cheaper, and if people are talking through the movie, you can turn up the sound.
Warning #1: Not for young children. There are references to people being eaten. Then again, so does "Hansel & Grettel". You decide.

Warning #2: It is in French with English subtitles. I suppose I should have called this the "Foreign movie of the week", but then again, I shouldn't have to. It's my blog, and I can do what I want.



From the Archive: 5/17/2004

This is truly one of the great american movies, ...... and not just because it has the word "American" in its title. It's a beautiful film, ........ also not just because it has the word "Beauty" in its title. Won the best picture Oscar for 1999, the first winner in years that actually deserved the title.

The main character, Lester Burnham, narrates his own story. The first thing he tells you is that he is a loser, and that, "I'll be dead in a year." So, there's no mystery there. As a comedy, we can laugh along with him because we can identify. We cheer him on as he tries to turn his life around. We feel for him as he obsesses over what he knows he can't have.

So many parodies have been made of this movie, that if you've never seen the original, now's the time. If you need to know more, the link below will take you to Roger Ebert's film review.


Film critic Roger Ebert's review of AMERICAN BEAUTY.