Friday, November 23, 2012

Rid of Me: When Bro Things Happen to Good People

So since I have been confined to my room for the past three days as a result of what appears to be the lovechild of the flu virus and a sinus infection, what else to do but what new movies? I stumbled upon this film Rid of Me in my Rate Movies tab on Netflix and it was a really interesting watch.

Meris and Mitch have just moved to Oregon (Mitch's hometown specifically) after being married for a little over a year in California. Meris, a little socially awkward, is having trouble fitting in with Mitch's group of friends, who I can only describe as a troupe of raging assholes. Instead of being kind to Meris as new member of their friend circle, they alienate her and focus only on getting Mitch back as a member of their elite friend team. When Mitch asks her for a divorce to pursue his old high school sweetheart, Meris completely reinvents herself as a punk rock badass with the help of her friend, Trudy.

Timid, housewife Meris.

This movie started off with a bang, and a really graphic first image. Hearing that Mitch and Briann (the high school sweetheart) are going to have a baby, Meris throws caution to the winds and humiliates Briann in public. Like...really horrendously. But once this action happens through the movie's course of events, you really don't feel sorry for her at all. Let me explain...

Badass Meris.

So the awful (and really fascinating) thing about this movie is learning what constitutes a good person and a bad person. Mitch's awful friends classify Meris as a socially awkward weakling with no place in their group and with this "group think" Mitch starts to agree with them. But the most horrible thing about Mitch and his friends is that to most bystanders they seem like upstanding citizens. They all dress nice, they go out for social events together, they play sports, and they're all nice to each other. By contrast, Meris's new punk friends seem like aliens to them. And while some of the things that Meris's new crew do are a little extreme, it's obvious that they are all open to new things, fiercely protective of their new friend, and have an appreciation for her that we never seem to see from Mitch's side, even when they're married.

Only the strong can survive douchebaggery.

I also really loved the way that this is filmed. It looks like it's filmed with a handheld camera and Meris has a way of looking at the camera with such a vulnerability that you can immediately be in every situation that she is in.

A really interesting commentary about the importance of fitting in for some people, and the imperativeness of being yourself.

8 outa 10 stars folks. Watch at your own risk!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wreck It Ralph: The World's Most Endearing Bad Guy

Pixar, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways:
Your mastery of humor
For kids and adults the same,
While dazzling us with great effects
The result is never lame.

O Pixar, thou great beacon
In the sea of dark,
Where stupid animation
And potty jokes live,
Make our movies great again
With HD, humanity, and wit.

I mean, really there was no other way to express my love for this sweet production company. Wreck-It Ralph is nothing but awesome. Compared with Pixar's other sentimentally heartbreaking movies (anyone else have puffy eyes for days after seeing Up?), this one was pleasant, sweet, and ADORABLE. What's cuter than a big hulking clumsy guy who just wants a hug (says the girl who dates a tender-hearted, 6'4 ex-offensive lineman). It is absolutely impossible to single out any one thing about this movie without busting out a great big smile. Feel-good awesomeness, ladies and gentlemen.

Seriously, this has fun written all over it.

As I'm sure everyone in this country has seen from the trailer, the plot follows Ralph, an unhappy bad guy in a game called Fix-It Felix Jr. The game revolves around Ralph wrecking an apartment complex and his good guy counterpart Fix-It Felix being controlled by the player to fix all the damage that he has done. At the end of each game, Ralph is thrown from the top of the apartment complex into a mud puddle on the ground. As we learn in the beginning, Ralph is upset that he gets treated poorly by the other characters in the game and just wants some recognition (and also a medal....or a pie...).

I mean, who doesn't want a pie? (Happy Thanksgiving by the way, guys!)

After a confrontation at the anniversary party of his game, Ralph goes AWOL and sets off to find a medal to prove to the others in his game that he's not all bad. On this mission, Ralph visits a game that looks like a cross between Halo and the movie Starship Troopers, and then another game that looks like a cross between Mario Kart and Candy Land.

Kandy Kart?

The structure of the plot revolves around learning how to accept people that aren't like ourselves. While Ralph bonds with a glitch named Vanellope Von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman, brilliant.), Felix gets close with a strong-willed commander of the game Hero's Duty. Facing opposition from the other characters in her game, Vanellope knows what its like to be an outcast and she and Ralph form a snarky yet loving friendship. As for Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer, genius.) he learns that bad guys aren't always necessarily bad guys.


Clever clever dialogue, some tearjerker moments (I mean, come on, what'd you expect?), and some hilariously awesome characters (look for the devil dogs that help King Candy, I was cracking up). I think Nick and I were laughing harder than the majority of the children in the packed audience. (Also, a bit off topic, but it was so nice to sit in a full theatre for once! So often it's me and Nick and like ten other people...)

So many fellow cinephiles!

The Pixar moniker has triumphed once more. Get your butt out there and remember what movie magic was like during the golden years of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast.

10 outa 10. Pixar, you keep on keepin' on!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silent Hill 2: The Hill Just Got More Silenter

Huh. Interesting. Maybe it's because I only saw the first installment of this movie last week and hadn't quite processed its themes yet, but this movie didn't make any sense. "Only once you destroy (and by destroy we mean join with) Alessa can Silent Hill be destroyed! Except it won't actually be destroyed! Mostly! Except for the one part of it! Because at the end a character decides to stay there! So what was the purpose of you coming here? We don't know! ....Look! A scary spider made of mannequins!"


So the film starts out with Alessa/Sharon/Heather being about 18 or something. Why the name change you ask? You find out about twenty minutes in. So (for those of you that have seen the original movie) the way they explain Sharon coming back without the mom is that the mom found a key into our dimension but that there was only room for one person to go through because half of the key was missing.

Observe: The key.

And Heather (aka Sharon) starts having these crazy dreams about all this stuff that's still going on in Silent Hill. She starts to hallucinate things going on around her reminiscent of the Silent Hill dimension, complete with Triangle-Hat Executioner Man and Saw-blade Arms Lady. So what does she do? She goes back to Silent hill of course! Where nothing but nonsensical weirdness ensues.

Also somewhere in Silent Hill they found a carnival.

So the problem with this movie is that it seems like someone was making it up as they went. "I think that Sharon should be back in our world and with the dad."
"Uhh...well she's with her mom right? Her mom helps her get out?"
"Uhhh, maybe there's like a hole in the dimension?"
"How would they reach this hole?"
"With a key...?"

The rest of the movie tries to carry a reason for everything, but each reason just seems like it's totally contrived. The whole plot doesn't really hold water and while the monsters are as interesting as ever, I was spending so much time trying evaluate what the heck was going on, the disturbing images kind of passed me by while I was asking Nick things like "Wait..why is that thing killing her? Who are all these people? Wait...what? I thought they all died in the first one?"

Even Sharon/Heather/Alessa/Margaret/Catherine/Thelma is confused.

Unfortunately, peeps, you'd be just as lost watching it if you had never even seen the first one. I would wait for this one to come out on Redbox or OnDemand.

2 outa 10.

PS It really bothers me when sequels have look-alike actors for children from their originals. Obviously they can't have the original kids but can't they just ex out the kids altogether?