Friday, July 25, 2014

Movie Round-Up 7/25/14: Sexy Time!

Here's what I watched since the last time:

Non-Stop:  This was the yearly Liam Neeson winter action movie, following "Unknown," "The Grey," "Taken," and maybe some others I forgot.  Anyway, in this one he's an air marshal who has to stop a plot involing a passenger who keeps threatening to kill people while all the time seeming to set up the air marshal for the crimes.  In the end the bad guy was the one I pegged from the start but it's the kind of thing where it goes around enough you start doubting it and then are proven right.  Anyway, another solid action movie but not spectacular. (2.5/5)

Nymphomaniac, Volume 1:  What happens when an art film maker writes and directs a movie that sounds like a porno?  A film about sex that is really not very sexy.  Basically the old scientist guy from "Thor" and "The Avengers" finds a woman knocked out in an alley and takes her back to his place, where she starts telling him all about her sexual exploits.  Alternately sex is compared to fly fishing, jungle cats, and classical music.  Apparently the full movie is about 4 hours long as there is a volume II, the preview of which is in the credits for volume 1.  I'll probably watch it just to see if there's a point to all this.  I mean that and some occasional actual sex, right?  (2/5)

Nymphomaniac, Volume 2:  Thanks to a snafu in my queue I ended up getting this second part for this week.  Much of the first third or so of the movie is the woman has gotten married and had a kid and now suffers from kind of like writer's block, only with sex.  So she tries some unusual methods to get things kickstarted, first by meeting up with a couple of Africans thanks to an interpreter she hires and then with some guy who specializes in beating women up.  Eventually she finds her calling by working for Willem Defoe as a hired goon who helps bully guys into repaying debts.  Overall this second part felt like it had more of a cohesive story than the first.  It makes a good point near the end about how if a man had done most of the things she had, no one would bad an eyelash.  I mean we romanticize and revere men who sleep around like Casanova, Don Juan, or Hugh Hefner while a woman who sleeps around is a "whore" or "slut" and made to feel guilty about it.  Unfortunately the last two minutes take a big dump on the whole thing, pretty much changing everything we know about a character for no good reason.  It's like if you ever saw the original ending for "Clerks" where out of nowhere it takes this depressing, violent turn and pretty much leaves you saying, "WTF?!"  Since the thing is like 4 hours long, maybe we could have done without those 2 minutes? (2.5/5)

Under the Skin:  Scarlett Johannson is like an alien who goes around looking for guys to take back to her lair to turn into pink slime...or something.  I don't know, it doesn't do a real good job explaining what the fuck is going on.  There were these guys on motorcycles whose presence wasn't really explained either.  I'm thinking they were other aliens?  It's the kind of movie where a lot of it is just people staring at stuff.  In fact for the credits it just lists the actors's names because there are no character names.  But on the plus side you can see Scarlett Johannson naked, which is a point in its favor. (2/5)

Zack & Miri Make a Porno:  I had pretty much stopped caring about anything Kevin Smith did after Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (I have vowed to never watch Clerks II and have stuck to that thusfar) so I didn't really care when this came out originally.  Plus it features Seth Rogen, who is one of my least favorite leading men.  As the title suggests, a dude named Zack and his friend Miri decide to make a porno to get money to pay their bills.  They enlist people from their Pittsburgh neighborhood to help.  But their first attempt called Star Whores (not an original title, BTW) literally gets demolished so they take up filming in the coffeehouse where Zack works.  The rest is pretty predictable.  Rogen is just about as annoying as possible, but the bigger misstep was Smith enlisting his old cronies Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson who are glaringly not as good as pretty much everyone else on the screen, including former porn queen Traci Lords.  Dude, I know they're your buddies but it's like taking over a major league baseball team and adding a couple of buddies from your old company softball team.  Anyway, be sure to watch the cookie scene in the credits to see how things turn out for everyone. (2.5/5)

The Road:  This was one of those books in the 2000s everyone got talking about, like Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, The Corrections, Twilight, etc.  I still haven't read it even though I once could have bought it for $1 from a library sale.  I just don't like Cormac McCarthy.  The movie version seems like Cormac McCarthy Lite; it's not as shockingly brutal as I assume the book is.  The cannibalism is implied, not really shown.  I thought in the book too the water was poisoned but in the movie that doesn't seem a problem.  Anyway, after some unknown disaster Man and Boy go wandering the south towards the coast.  I'm not sure what Man hoped to find there.  Boy is obsessed with them being "the good guys," which is strained when Man starts doing some stuff that goes against this notion.  It's kind of like The Walking Dead only with no zombies.  As also part of the lack of brutality the end is somewhat happy; about as much as can be expected under the circumstances.  I'm sure I hated this a lot less than I would the book. (3.5/5)

Small Time:  This suffered from one of those times where I should have read a review or something.  I thought this would be more of a workplace comedy of a car dealership, but really it's more of a family drama when a used car dealer's son comes to work for him.  The problem for the car dealer is his son is a little too good at his job.  Overall it was OK, but like I said I was looking for some laughs.  There are a couple of funny parts in when they hustle people to sell cars, but those are momentary blips.   (3/5)


  1. This is the first time I have not seen any of the movies you reviewed, and by the looks of it I won't need to.

  2. Not a lot of good movies this week. I'm one of the few that enjoyed Non-Stop, but then Liam Neeson could read a phone book to me.

  3. I was going to watch "The Road" on Netflix the other day but then I didn't.

  4. Cormac can be pretty dense. I've tried and gave up.

    And people give me a hard time about grammar and punctuation.



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