Category Archives: At The Movies

Third “Monday” Movie Day

Yeah...I forgot. Plus, this way I'm not fighting with the doubleheader.

Movie of the Month: Kick-Ass (2010, Matthew Vaughn)

Now, this isn't the movie of the month because it's the best movie I saw this month. I saw much better fare, but the best film I saw (Out of Sight) has been covered here already. I wanted to cover this one because of what it did poorly. Spoilers abound. In fact, I'll use the spoiler tag.

Spoiler SelectShow

Okay, one more gripe, this time on The Crazies (2010, Breck Eisner)

Spoiler SelectShow

Aaaaaaand sigh. What have you seen?

Third Monday Movie Day

Movie of the Month: Following (Christopher Nolan, 1998)

Following is a lean little movie (69 minutes) that's clearly made on a shoestring budget, but first-time director Christopher Nolan knew what he was doing as far as plot, tension and language were concerned. This black-and-white film full of no-name actors won't catch the eye of the average viewer, but it's well worth pulling up on Netflix streaming to see the humble beginnings of a man who would become one of America's premier directors within less than a decade.

The Young Man (Jeremy Theobald, and yes, "The Young Man" is the character's name) has an obsession with following strangers, just to see who they are and what they do. He makes the mistake of following Cobb (Alex Haw, in his one and only film credit), who believes the young man to be a cop about to nail him for his own fetish: breaking into houses and leaving traces of activity, though never stealing anything of note. The Blonde (Lucy Russell, the most consistently working actor in this film, though you won't recognize her) figures into the story with both men, but the more I tell you, the more I ruin.

Following is told out of order, and essentially is about a man with one great flaw who's being used by other people in ways he can't imagine, and he doesn't have long to figure out how. Nolan would soon tell a similar story (Memento) on a much bigger stage and become a household name. His strengths then remain his strengths now, although his one big weakness - his inability to connect the viewer with his characters emotionally, and not just with the plot - remains an unfortunate hole in his game today. Still, he's one of America's great directors, and Nolan completists shouldn't miss this one, especially with the very short running time.

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Otherwise it's been a lean viewing month at Casa de Leche, what with the moving and stuff, although I've also been watching the fantastic British cop show Luther, starring Idris Elba (The Wire's Stringer Bell). It's also on streaming and definitely recommended to fans of cop dramas, and of Elba. The supporting cast is dynamite as well.

What have you seen?

Third Monday Movie Day

Movie of the Month: Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1991)

Delicatessen is another beautifully shot, dark but ultimately hopeful film from not-prolific-enough director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Louison (Dominique Pinon, a Jeunet regular), a former clown, moves into a sad, rundown tenement in a rustic (post-apocalyptic?) world, answering an ad to be the building's handyman. The ad's been placed by the tenement's butcher, who draws in helpers, kills them and sells the meat to the tenants, who have little else to sustain them.

The butcher's daughter falls for Louison, and well, that's a movie right there. Highly recommended, and not as dark as it sounds. It's largely a comedy.

I didn't see any terrible movies this month, but the most disappointing was Easy A, a high-school romp very loosely based on The Scarlet Letter. A few good performances can't save the thing from being predictable down to the letter, even by teen comedy standards.

What have you seen?

Third Monday Movie Day

Movie of the Month: Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009)

Coraline is Skim's favorite movie, and of the past few years, it's one of mine. Selick wrote the screenplay based loyally on Neil Gaiman's book, and Gaiman has described it as a "Fairy tale for young girls of all ages and genders." Well, apparently, I'm one of those young girls.

Coraline Jones, an only child, and her parents move to a new town into an old mansion with secrets. A snooping Coraline finds a portal into a second world where her parents are much more attentive and vibrant, but what's behind the facade? It's all about greed, in the end, although it's told in such a colorful, exciting manner that you never get the idea you're learning anything from it.

Skim did Halloween as Coraline last year and has expressed interest in doing so again. Coraline is a strong, smart, realistic female role model for Skim and Sour Cream, and any daughter's father can see that they're in short supply. I love Neil Gaiman's writing in general, but I love him most of all for this character.

Worst Movie I Saw this Month: Die-ner (Get it?) (Patrick Horvath, 2010)

This is a putrid little indie flick. I got on a zombie kick in the past month, and watching this movie killed that entirely. What starts with an interesting premise - a serial killer's last two victims come after him and his next intended targets - devolves into a hastily-written orgy of horrible acting. The serial killer is the lead, and he never shows a single redeeming quality, partially because of his inability to act. The young couple, his next intended targets, have multiple chances to leave but for some reason, they never do. With one or two rewrites and a better cast, this has potential. Instead, it's probably the worst movie I've seen all year. Sigh.

What have you seen?