Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Some Movie Reviews

El Capitan Takes In Some Flicks

I've caught quite a few movies recently. I hit the video store for the first time in ages and rented a stack, and also caught a couple on HBO that I didn't think were worth spending movie theater money on.

Let's do the HBO flix first. First up was the teen dramedy 'Napoleon Dynamite'. It's well on the way to becoming a cult classic, and I'm not exactly sure why. As it happens, I'm not supposed to get it. According to some of the fan sites, if I find it perplexing, I'm just too old to understand it.
I didn't find it perplexing as much as completely pointless. There were a few cute scenes here and there. The subplot with Napoleon's brother and the brother's online girlfriend made me grin from time to time. I spent most of the movie with a fervent desire to slap most of the actors upside the head for terminal buffoonery, though. That, and a wish for a cattle prod so I could zap the lead character and get him to quit squinting. I can't really recommend this flick, but if you do have to watch it, at least stick around for the final dance number. I did laugh out loud at that scene.

Next was 'Sideways', an utterly useless film in almost every regard. Basically, it's about two guys that spend a week roaming around in California's wine country as sort of an extended bachelor party.
This film got a lot of press when it was released, and likely increased California's DWI offenses by boosting the number of people who think it's nifty to get potted tasting samples at wineries before driving to several more. It's also made the wine-drinking sheeple out there switch en masse from merlot to pinot noir. (Hint: they both suck. If you're gonna drink a red, drink a Cabernet or a Syrah)
I couldn't finish the film. Both the lead characters were unlikeable in the extreme, and about halfway through, I just said "Enough! These assholes deserve each other!"

For the DVDs, I rented 5, and watched them over several nights.

The first flick, I'd seen before in the theaters. 'Sin City'. I'll recommend this one, but you do need the ability to stomach some really extreme violence. This has to be the first film out there where you see a guy grab ahold tightly to another guy's hoo-hah, and rip it off entirely. It's a comic book graphic novel brought to life, and you can see that director Robert Rodriguez truly respects Frank Miller's source material. Very well done, and it needs to win all kinds of awards for technical merits. Not for the faint of heart!

'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' sucked so much ass, there's a worldwide run on vacuums and donkeys. If you're unfamiliar with Douglas Adams's Magnum Opus, you really have no business watching HHGTTG anyway. I'd actually prefer to watch the BBC version, cheesy production values and all. Bill Nighy steals the show as usual, playing Slartibartfast. I'd watch that guy recite the dictionary.

'A Day Without A Mexican' was recommended to me by... a Mexican. It's a cautionary tale of what would happen in California if the borders were sealed, and everyone of Latino descent were to suddenly disappear. It's a cute story, but a bit too preachy for my taste. Then again, I'm a gringo. Don't miss the parts with the lady who's certain that Mexicans were God's Chosen, and the disappearance is actually the Rapture.

Next up is 'Layer Cake', a gangster film of the British persuasion. I enjoyed this film immensely, right up to 2 days after I watched it. That was when I learned that the lead actor, Daniel Craig, (who is poised to become the next James Bond) is a pantywaisted gun-fearing wussy. Really put me off my bubble & squeak, eh what?
It's a fun movie to watch, perhaps a bit too convoluted plot-wise for its own good, but it keeps you guessing right up until the end. If you hate the ending (appropriate as it may be) there's two alternate endings on the DVD to choose from!

The last flick is called 'Crash'. Set in Los Angeles (big shocker there), it's a story about many intertwined lives and racial relations in the city. I dunno what you'll see here that you didn't already see in 'Grand Canyon', 'Short Cuts' or 'Magnolia'. While the film moves quickly, and is not overtly biased towards blacks, whites, Hispanics, or Arabs Persians!, the director's message begins to come through pretty clear very early on. His message seems to be not that there's racial issues, not that these issues can be overcome, but instead that every single human being in LA is a contemptible asshole, completely beyond redemption. Oh, yeah, the director thinks guns are Eeeeevil, too. It's a 2 hour series of racial cliches. Pass this one by.

Until next time, the balcony is closed! (Heh. Balcony. Who am I kidding? I watch these sitting in an office chair in front of my iMac...)