The Player (1992)

I watched this severely ’90s  film in my Film History class this week and wow just wow. I’m still in shock from what I’ve seen.

Let me just jump into the crazy stuff they show before I get to the plot because the story has nothing to do with why you should watch this.  There was an unbelievable amount of cameos made by famous actors in this film, the best being Whoopi Goldburg. Just guess what she does… just guess… She plays with a tampon infront of Tim Robbins! She takes the string and twirls it in a circle as she questions Robbins about a murder that he’s suspected of committing and no one says anything about it! Oh and another favorite part of mine is when this creepy looking cop is outside Robbins’ office and we see him kill a fly with his hands. It doesn’t sound that funny, but it’s sheer cliche and hokey usage had me doubled over with laughter. The corniness of this film is well worth the time of watching it. They basically mock the entire business of film and it’s pretty damn funny.

The Player was directed by Robert Altman and written by Michael Tolkin.The plot revolves around this one producer, Tim Robbins, who ends up killing a writer, who he thinks is sending him harassing and threatening postcards. So, he does what any a-hole producer would do… he covers up his involvement and starts to date the dead writer’s girlfriend. However, after the writer’s death he continues to receive these threatening postcards so he starts to go a little crazy with paranoia. Robbins successfully covers up his involvement, but these cops, Whoopi and this creepy looking cop that likes killing flys a lot think he’s the murderer so they follow him. I won’t ruin the ending, but it consists with a lot of selling out and unlike most films, ‘the bad guy’ gets away with it.

Oh and you get to see Robbins’ junk in the movie, which I could have really done without. (ewwww)  Go see it!…. but if you don’t wanna see Robbins’ stuff just look away for a minute when he gets out of that mud-bath. You’re welcome for the warning.

The Bridge (2006)

The Bridge (2006) is a chilling documentary directed by Eric Steel. The film dissects the stories of several recorded jumpers who plunged to their death off of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. A little (not so) fun fact about this bridge is that it’s the most popular suicide destination in the world. According to Wikipedia the suicide count by 2005 exceeded 1,200 with an average of one jumper every 15 days (and that’s just the count for the bodies they find and the people who were witnessed jumping) . This film attempts to explore a minute part of this long standing and morbid tradition.

There really is no other word for this film, other than chilling. It’s deeply haunting and yet your curiosity drives you to watch it all the way through. The film is constructed with the jumpers on the bridge the day of their death and their jump into the freezing water below. This shocking footage is arranged around interviews of the loved ones they left behind and this proves to be the most powerful footage of the film. To be honest, it was hard to remember that the footage of these people jumping and hitting the water are images of people dying right in front of us. These people do not live and we know that, yet it’s hard to understand that, that is exactly what we are seeing. It’s almost unbelievable seeing as this kind of footage is nearly impossible to get with out recording constantly every day for months on end. (which I believe they did).

As I watched this, I felt like there was almost a disconnect between reality and this film. Of course this footage is real. However modern film has desensitized us to the gore and violence we see in films because we know they aren’t real and it’s very hard to loose this feeling while watching this film.

Overall, the premise and individual stories are incredible, but it got a little old. I mean, this film is definitely not a feel-good film and should only be watched when you’re in the mood for this kind of movie.

I give it out of five light bulbs! :]

Year One

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of slashfilm.com

All I have to say is WHAT THE FUCK?!

Honestly, I really had no intention of seeing this movie, but my friend Jime invited me to the midnight showing last week so I decided to go.

This movie was just so disappointing, it really wasn’t that funny…. at all. The only thing I found humorous was Michael Cera’s little awkward comments throughout the film and the very disturbing oil rubbing scene, which I dare not explain.

This movie had so many cameos of really funny people. It’s just sad that none of it translated to a funny movie.

I found that Rotten Tomatoes’ review put it best:
Consensus: Year One is a poorly executed, slapdash comedy in which the talent both in front of and behind the camera never seem to be on the same page.”

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I’m sure some people liked this film, but on a personal level I felt kind of cheated. It definitely wasn’t worth the $11 I paid (or will pay Jime; I still remember!) . It’s total gross for it’s opening week is up to $20,200,000 according to the LA Times website so I’m sure somebody likes it. Anyways, I’m sure these guys will have plenty of future hits and I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a bomb, but it’s definitely not a must-see either.

The Mouse That Roared

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The Mouse That Roared

I love this film.

Originally the film was a satirical novel written in 1955 by Leonard Wibberley. The film, like the book, focuses on an imaginary country of Europe called the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. I’m not sure how true the film is to the book, but this movie is one of my all time favorites and I really can’t explain why.(Probably because Peter Sellers, my favorite actor,  plays 3 amazing characters!)

The Plot:

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick is a small European nation that is nearly bankrupt, so as a solution they decide to declare war on the United States of America. This is logical to them because as an occupied nation of the US, Grand Fenwick would receive aide to bolster their economy. They officially declare war on the US and send a small group of men to New York City. The group, out of sheer stupidity and luck, obtain a very disastrous tool they use for leverage and end up becoming one of the most powerful nations in the world.

Watch it!

(*Photo courtesy of http://www.bettingchoice.co.uk)

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

outfoxed_posterFirst off the format of the film really annoyed me. The little crappy graphics that pop up after people’s commentary was distracting and just pissed me off because it looked so stupid. Oh and the music is so retarded, it’s all ’80s or ’90s and really does not fit the film at any particular scene.

Apart from my visual complaints, the content of the film is rather interesting and covers a lot of what my professors have pointed out about the ethics of Journalism.

The film critically dissects Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel, which is well-known for being a conservative news channel. Several tactics the film pointed out about the Fox network caught my eye. The first being that when anchors on the network try to insert opinion instead of attribution of a source (because there isn’t one) they say “some people say”. This is something that as a Journalism student, you are forbidden to use (at least in class). The whole point of Journalism is to source your information and I just found it amusing that the collage of clips they showed had all of their anchors using it several times. Then again the point of the film is to make Fox look hypocritical.

I also liked how a lot of the interviews are with people who had previously worked in the Fox Network as producers or contributors.

Of course this documentary is bias, it has an angle like most other documentaries. If I had to rate it, I’d give it a 4/5 for content but a 2/5 for editing and visuals. I just think it could have been presented better visually and structurally. Seriously though, it’s a good film especially if you have an interest in Journalism… see it!

Outfoxed

Milk: The Film

I saw Milk last week.

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Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

I love films, I watch a lot and like most. Milk was different though, its one of those movies that you haven’t seen before. I’m talking about those films that you’ve seen a thousand times but are just under a different title. The predictable ones that make you feel good, but don’t actually get you emotionally invested in the characters. Milk is nothing like this.

Milk is based on an actual movement that happened in San Francisco in the mid 1970s. The film does a great job telling a personal story of Harvey Milk and his role in the gay movement by using real footage blended into the story line. The acting was also amazing and even charming at times, Sean Penn really delivered another great role. Personally, its movies like Milk and Into The Wild (If you haven’t seen it, see it now!) that make me passionate about film and reminds me why I chose to be a film major.

Its a must see, go see it now!

If you’ve seen the film or are aware of Anita Bryant (religious zealot promoting civil restrictions upon homosexuals in the mid 1970s) I suggest you watch this video, it didn’t appear in the film but I kind of wish it did. haha

The Nazis: A Warning from History

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The Nazis: A Warning from History is a documentary I recently watched. It was released in 1998 and contains interviews from German and Jewish people who lived through Hitler’s domination of Germany. Some of the interviewers are from people who worked closely with Hitler, and a great deal of time is spent on the personal inner workings of the Nazi party and Hitler himself. The main topic of the film is to discover why the German people allowed a man such as Hitler to rise to power, and I think it does a comprehensive coverage of the question.

I felt this film was much better then any text book, at investigating this time in history and putting it in context with the then current inner workings of Europe. Much was covered that I had never been taught or even introduced to in basic World History class or AP European History. I also loved how they used actual old film from the time throughout the entire film, it really added to the understanding of what was happening and personally, I found the imagery to be quite moving and fasicnating. I recommend this movie, but be prepared because it is a 2 disc made for tv series that is about 5 hours long. I could not take it all in, in one night but regardless it is a great film.