137.  Outrage

Copying from my film festival writeup:

Anyway, Outrage is a Yakuza movie about warring families/clans (apologies if nomenclature is incorrect) who operate within a larger group of clans.  About a half hour into the film, it becomes clear that the movie is really about who is going to kill who, and how twisted the death scene will be.

My fundamental problem with the film, and I’m not entirely certain to what extent it is a cultural thing, is that it felt like so much of the movie dealt with the bureaucracy of the Yakuza.  The guy at the top would order a kill, or imply that he wanted a kill.  His second in command would relay that order to the appropriate head of family, sometimes changing it slightly.  The head would pass on the order to his second in command, or perhaps ignore it.  The second in command passed it on to his henchmen, sometimes, who would execute the kill.  And then the information would go back up the chain a similar way.  Rinse and repeat.  Like the bloodiest game of telephone ever.

The other problem is that we don’t really get to know the characters.  And few of them have any sort of distinguishing characteristic.  So it is hard to care too much when they get offed.

Some of the kills were cool.  But I wouldn’t recommend to see the film just on that basis, there are plenty of movies with better death scenes, I think.   It isn’t a bad film, though, and if you are a mob movie fanatic or completist, it is probably worth your while.

136.  Heartbeats

This film won an award at Cannes and cemented writer/director/actor Xavier Dolan as something of an indie darling.  I was confused to see it was nominated for a Cesar for Best Foreign Film, since the movie is in French, but then I remembered they speak French in Canada too.  The movie is about two close friends, a girl and a gay guy who both become infatuated with the same guy.  The film had some interesting points to make, I think.  Unfortunately, it made those points 20 minutes in, and so we got to see the same situation play out for another hour.  I do see why others liked it so much, though, there’s a lot of style to make up for the lack of substance.

135.  The Three Musketeers

Adam is going to be upset with me for not having this movie closer to the bottom of my list.  Make no mistake, The Three Musketeers is a terrible movie.  And it bastardizes the source material something fierce.  For example, you’d think that swordfighting would be an integral aspect of any musketeer movie, right?  Well, this one goes out of its way to throw in scenes of the musketeers using any number of different weapons, so it feels like 45 minutes until we get to a swordfight.  But that’s OK, the swordfighting choreography  is horribly uninspired.  Granted, the movie does take a bunch of key plot points from the book.  And then you get to the zeppelin fight.  Anyway, the writing is bad, with no clear direction other than maybe petulance from having to adapt the novel rather than creating something original.  Some of the casting is fun, like Christoph Waltz as Richelieu, Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort, Juno Temple as the Queen, and surprisingly, Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham.  This is all prelude, though.  Because of our schedules and poor timing with Easter, for our annual Passover drunken movie watching, we ended up watching this movie on a weeknight after a class I was taking.  I plowed through a bottle of Manichewitz in about an hour.  So we are watching the film in a certain state, lamenting how crappy it was (Adam and I both love the book) when Adam says we could do better swordfights.  I laugh.  He leaves for a minutes and brings back down a big bag.  Out of which he pulls a couple swords, actual real swords, throws one at me and says, “En garde.”  At which point we swordfight for ten minutes with the movie in the background.  And that’s why I gave the movie a little bump.

134.  The Conspirator

The Robert Redford movie about the conspiracy to assassinate Racing President Abe Lincoln and the ensuing trial of Mary Surratt.  I won’t bother listing all the actors out, but the cast is top notch.  Didn’t really have much to do, other than stand around in mid-19th century garb, but hey, they can say they worked with Redford.  There was a surprising lack of story and some themes were repeated over and over.  It seems like there should be an interesting story in here, but maybe only from someone willing to take more liberties with history.

133.  30 Minutes or Less

As you might recall from my blurb on Your Highness, Danny McBride is the worst.  Ugh.  This film’s problems extended beyond him, though.  I find Aziz Ansari pretty funny, I like his most recent album a lot, but I have absolutely no idea why he was cast in this movie or why he accepted the role.  The biggest problem, though, is that the film couldn’t really decided what it wanted to be, a send up of action films or an actual film, and so spent most of the time nervously toeing the line of both.

132.  The Sitter

So I had plans to see My Week with Marilyn, but when I got to E St, a fire alarm had gone off earlier, which screwed with the schedule, and so the theater wasn’t showing any more movies that night.  Desperate for a movie, my friend and I walked to Gallery Place, where we eventually landed on this.  There were a few laughs in there, and I’m an Ari Graynor fan, but the script felt like a hatchet job.  Not just because of Graynor, but Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes to mind when thinking about one crazy night movies, and I think the comparison shows how The Sitter failed not just with jokes, but with building an interesting story around them.

131.  Hello Lonesome

This Spirit Awards nominees features three stories: a guy and a girl fall in love, but the girl has cancer; a voiceover guy doesn’t have any friends or family; a 30-something guy starts spending lots of time with his elderly female neighbor.  None of the stories overlap at all.  I guess there’s a common theme of human interaction, but that’s pretty weak, in my opinion.  But Sabrina Lloyd is the girl with cancer, so yay for that.  Lloyd, not the cancer.

130.  Weekend

If you follow indie movies, you’ve likely heard about Weekend, for everyone else, it is a drama about two gay British guys who hook up for the weekend.  I’ve thought a lot about why I didn’t like this film, because it is generally well-regarded and I’d rather it not just be because the movie is about two gay guys.  I think where I’ve landed is that the gay thing is probably something of a factor, both because it is harder to relate to what it must be like to be gay and because, everything else equal, if I’m going to watch two attractive people getting it on for what seemed like the bulk of the movie, I’d rather at least one be a female.  So part of it is on my end.  But I think the larger point is that, to me, it falls in the category of indie films where people just talk about life and nothing really happens.  And I’ve pretty consistently not enjoyed those.

129.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Cards on the table: I read the first Harry Potter book and didn’t like it.  And this is the first Harry Potter movie I’ve seen.  Clearly not for me, so let’s just move on.

128.  The Devil’s Double

Dominic Cooper does a fine job as Uday Hussein and his double in this film based on a true story.  But here is a description of every scene in the movie: Uday does something horrible because he is a horrible person.  The double is like, “Wow, Uday is a horrible person.”  I just saved you a lot of time.  Though I guess you’d miss a heck of a showcase for Cooper.

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