Movies Watched -- When Marnie Was There

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In Japanese. 103 minutes, so a decent length, but I still fast forwarded from 20 minutes in. Another weird one from some Japanese animation studio. The main girl, Anna, is a foster child with asthma who goes to spend the summer in the countryside with some relatives of her foster mother / guardian. It's unclear to me if Anna is a mixed-race child. This is the thing that interested me, but I couldn't figure it out, it wasn't explored. There are foreigners within, and the fantasy girl, Marnie, is a blonde Cinderella type, but who are these foreigners and why are they in Japan? Is Anna ostracized because she's of mixed race? Is this why she was abandoned? Is this why she feels like an outsider? I couldn't understand it.  Red rating, avoid.

Princess and Tom Boy

Princess and Tom Boy

Movies Watched -- Trainwreck

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129 minutes long so at least 30 to 40 minutes too long. I fast forwarded from 20 minutes in. Amy Schumer looks like Miss Piggy, fat and unattractive, and she plays a "slut," but the guys she sleeps with would never sleep with her in real life. It's true that men will have sex with just about anyone, but they'd draw the line at someone who looks like Amy Schumer. It's a Judd Apatow movie so the raunch humor is aimed at teenage boys, once again. It's a weird one though, totally conventional despite the "subversive" humor, in the end it's an old fashioned Jewish girl fantasy in the sense that she ends up with a doctor. Red rating (avoid).

Wes Morris hated the movie; here's his beautiful review.

Fffffffff.....at.

Fffffffff.....at.

Watching Arty French Flicks With My Shades On

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The great Blossom Dearie singing "I'm Hip," lyrics by Dave Frishberg (born March 23, 1933 ... Susannah McCorkle does a good version of his "My Attorney Bernie"). Dearie's not appreciated enough for her piano playing, what a touch. Some updated lyrics rhyming macrobiotics with narcotics. :)

I'm hip, I'm no square
I'm alert, I'm awake, I'm aware
I am always on the scene
Makin' the rounds, diggin' the sounds
I read Playboy magazine 'cause I'm hip
I dig, I'm in step
When it was hip to be hep, I was hep
I don't blow but I'm a fan
Look at me swing, ring a ding ding
I even call my girlfriend 'Man,' I'm so hip
Every Saturday night
With my suit buttoned tight and my suedes on
I'm gettin' my kicks
Watchin' arty French flicks with my shades on
I'm too much, I'm a gas
I am anything but middle class
When I hang around the band
Poppin' my thumbs, diggin' the drums
Squares don't seem to understand
Why I flip, they're not hip like I'm hip
I'm hip, I'm alive
I enjoy any joint where there's jive
I'm on top of every trend
Look at me go vo dee o do
Bobby Darin knows my friend
I'm so hip
I'm hip but not weird
Like you notice, I don't wear a beard
Beards were in but now they're out
They had their day now they're passe
Just ask me if you're in doubt, 'cause I'm hip
Now whatever the fads
And whatever the ads say
It's needs fill
I'll be keeping abreast
Out in front of the rest with elites ville
'Cause I'm cool as a cuke
I'm a cat, I'm a card, I'm a kook, 
I get so much out of life
Really, I do skoo ba doo boo
One more time play 'Mack the knife'
Let 'er rip, I may flip, but I'm hip
Ooh, I'm hip, ooh, I'm hip
Skoo ba doo boo, doo boo, doo boo
Boo doo boo doo doo doo

Movies Watched -- Still Alice

Added on by C. Maoxian.

99 minutes long, so not a bad length, but I still fast forwarded from 20 minutes in, not because it was terrible, but because movies about progressive illnesses are hard to take. Julianne Moore is 50 years old, and a full professor at Columbia, when she gets diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. She played a similar sick lady role in Todd Haynes' disturbing movie, Safe, which I saw 20 years ago.

Richard Gere plays her husband, and he's pretty "supportive," at least at first, before a job at the Mayo Clinic calls. One of her children is Kristen Stewart, who continues to chew her lip in every scene of every movie I've ever seen her in. No idea why she gets as much work as she does. Must appeal to messy-haired Millennials?

Moore is probably good, I like her, she's beautiful and I think she's talented. The emotions were strictly white middle class here (Ben Sachs says "middlebrow"), she balled a little bit, but husband and kids seemed pretty calm about the collapse of their wife / mother, kind of cold. I'd give it a yellow (consider) rating if you're not disturbed by movies in which the main character is descending into dementia. 

(Andrew O'Hehir makes the good point that "this person would be supremely annoying were she a real person and not Julianne Moore," and "You have to have a beach house in the first place, let us note, before you can get lost in it." And I agree completely with Wesley Morris who writes, "these disease movies [make you worry] that medical misfortune befalls only bourgeoisie. It’s far too fond of Moore to be less than flattering to her. So, instead, it cheats life, death, and us.")

Clearly demented

Clearly demented

Tweets for September 20, 2016

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Tweets for September 19, 2016

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Tweets for September 17, 2016

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Tweets for September 16, 2016

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Tweets for September 14, 2016

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Tweets for September 13, 2016

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Tweets for September 12, 2016

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Tweets for September 11, 2016

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Tweets for September 10, 2016

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Movies Watched -- Mustang

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In Turkish. 94 minutes long so just the right length. Five orphaned teenage sisters live with their grandmother in rural Turkey (1000 km from Istanbul). They're carefree schoolgirls one minute and then, following a "scandal," are more or less imprisoned in their home and paired off one by one in arranged marriages. Is this realistic? I don't think so, it seemed far too abrupt and radical a change to me.

Anyway, all of these girls are *stunningly* beautiful in their own way (obviously none of them is biologically related in reality). Spoiler: when did the uncle start raping them? Surely they wouldn't have passed the virginity test after that? Did he always live with them or just after the scandal broke? Did he rape the oldest two or just start with Ece? 

There's tragedy, there's comedy, but the underlying story, this transition from secular to sacred (and eventual escape), didn't make sense to me. Having the girls cavort around in their underwear at length, lying on top of one another, made me a little uncomfortable. All of the long, close-up shots of their faces similarly "fetishizing" their beauty, their sexuality. What would people think if the director were a man instead of a woman? 

In the end, when the two little ones run away to Istanbul, what can they expect? The have a few hundred Turkish lira and know one person there, what's going to happen to them? Should we be thrilled about their newfound "freedom?" As you can see, I had a lot of mixed feelings about this one. No fast forwarding so it earns a yellow (consider) rating. 

Turkish girls of Instagram

Turkish girls of Instagram

Movies Watched -- Creed

Added on by C. Maoxian.

132 minutes so at least 30 to 40 minutes too long. I gave it 20 minutes before going to fast forward. They're shamelessly milking the Rocky franchise one last time. Stars super fit black guy (Apollo Creed's illegitimate son, you see). Boxing stories don't hold any appeal in the Age of Cage Fighting. Boxing comes across as unnecessarily violent and just plain dumb, now that we know how sophisticated fighting can be (in the Age of the Cage). Who wants to become a "tomato can" now? So it doesn't make much sense. Sly Stallone is good at poking fun at himself, which is nice to see. Oh, and there's a beautiful light-skinned black girl as Mr. Johnson's love interest. But I don't know why it's at 94% at Rotten Tomatoes. It gets a red rating (avoid) from me.

The Champ, momentarily distracted by a spider in corner of ceiling. 

The Champ, momentarily distracted by a spider in corner of ceiling.