Movies I Slept Through – The Artist

“The Artist” has less color than the 1952 Hickory basketball team.

“The Artist” is the story of George Valentin(Jean Dujardin), a prominent silent movie star who is handsome and charming. He’s the tits of the town and kind of a dick about it. One night, after hamming it up at a movie premiere, he bumps into an exceptionally adorable young woman who poses with him as the press snap photos.

The woman turns out to be Peppy Miller(Bérénice Bejo), a young dancer and actresses who is just starting in the business.  At another chance meeting, George saves her from being fired; ultimately giving her the first break as an actress.

The main conflict comes when George’s film producer(John Goodman) introduces him to talkies. George laughs in his face because, remember, he’s kind of a dick. He’s essentially laughing in the face of the guy who came up with the idea for microchips and saying, “Piss off. Punch Cards Forever!” George refuses to accept the new medium and sits by to watch talkies and Peppy Miller grow in popularity.

The not-so-secret star of “The Artist” is Uggie, the dog. I’m willing to say that this movie would be near unwatchable if the dog wasn’t involved. Unless you spent your childhood maiming and killing small animals(in which case, you’re probably a sociopath of some sort and should really get that checked out), you’ll be completely mesmerized by Uggie. So mesmerized, in fact, that you’ll be tricked into thinking you’re super artistic and really loving Michel Hazanavicius’s delightful, nostalgic playfulness.(I kid, I kid)

I was a little skeptical going in to watch “The Artist”. From the outside, it seems like it’s going to be work.

“Hey, do you want to see a silent film about a prideful man’s refusal to accept the changing world around him?”

“Uhh”

“There’s a cute dog in it.”

“Ok.”

It actually isn’t a lot of work. It’s compelling and often quite funny. The humour is classic.(So classic, in fact, I felt the need to spell it all weird like that.) You won’t roll in the floor laughing, but it’ll make you smile. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo both give great performances. Jean’s character often comes off as a jerk, but when he smiles, it makes you smile. If given a choice between Uggie and Bérénice Bejo for an adorable companion, I’d ultimately choose Bérénice, but only because of life expectancy.

“The Artist” is a fun and touching look at a bygone era. It seems intimidating on the surface, but quickly breaks the ice and leads to a nice story. I did get a bit yawny toward the end, but that may be a result of our ultra awesome constant stimulation society. Regardless, “The Artist” gets a Coffee.

Suggestion: If you liked “The Artist” check out last year’s animated silent film “The Illusionist“. It’s just as adorable with some similar themes.

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Movies I Slept Through – Submarine

“Submarine” is like an after school special where you learn spying on your parents is necessary and bullying gets you chicks.

When I think back to my childhood, I can’t remember what I was thinking. I can remember what I felt, but more often than not, when I try to remember what was going through my mind, I can only apply what I would think now. I’m very different from when I was when I was 15. Well, except for the fact that I still laugh at farts. (Unexpected body noises are universal comedy truths) The protagonist of “Submarine” approaches the world with that same sort of detachment. Although, I don’t think he’d like farts as much as I do.

Oliver Tate(Craig Roberts) is 15 and going through two mid-puberty crises. The hormonal pressure to have sex is becoming undeniable and his parents have grown distant. He’s made note of their lack of love-making and decides to get them together before it’s too late. His personal sex problem (new band name?) is fueled when Oliver decides to target Jordana(Yasmin Paige) a decision that’s based more on her popularity level than his attraction to her. He’s even willing to relax his rules on bullying people just to impress her.

Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige really shine as detached teens looking for something to hold on to. The performances of the whole cast are pitch perfect throughout. It’s a rather sad movie, but also very funny in an understated way. You won’t find any one man wolf packs or brides taking a shit in the middle of the street, but there are some genuine funny moments if you’re looking for them. (They seem more precious when you have to find them.)

“Submarine” is directed by Richard Ayoade. If you’re a fan of British shows, you may recognize him as Moss on “The IT Crowd” or a couple of roles in “The Mighty Boosh.” He has directed a few things before, but this is his most ambitious project. It really is quite stunning. His use of colors is impressive. Most of the world is filled with grays and blacks, but occasionally someone’s outfit will pop. There are some “Big Fish” time stop shots that are used a bit too often, but not to the point of annoyance.

“Submarine” explores the subject of relationships. Focusing on one relationship that’s just getting started and another that’s slowly flickering out. I couldn’t quite justify giving “Submarine” a Full Energy Drink, but it’s definitely worth a Coffee for the great performances, directing and subtle sense of humor.

Movies I Slept Through – The Red Balloon

“The Red Balloon”  is a 1956 interpretation of a 1983 song about balloons.


“The Red Balloon” is about a young boy that befriends a balloon. Balloons are weird.

It’s awesome. It’s on Netflix watch instant. It’s 34 minutes long. Drink some Coffee, watch this movie, and then spend another 90 minutes learning the german lyrics to Nena’s “99 Luft Ballons”.

Movies I Slept Through – Black Swan

“Black Swan” is about Nina, a ballerina that goes black and doesn’t go back.

Natalie “I Wanna F*ck You Too” Portman plays Nina Sayers, an up and coming ballerina who is a bit of a perfectionist. She can dance technically great, but when it comes to letting go and dancing through instinct she has a few issues.(Isn’t that because she’s white?)

After the No MILFs Allowed Ballet Company kicks out their aging star(Winona Ryder), the lead role in Swan Lake is up for grabs. Thomas(Vincent Cassel), the head of the company, knows Nina is perfect for the role of the white swan, but will have trouble with the black. He tries every thing known to man to get a woman to loosen up: verbal abuse, sexual assault, having sex with one of her friends. Eventually, she does start to let go and gives into her darker impulses.

Darren Aronofsky directed this movie with the grace and precision expected of the subjects. (Someone has to have said that by now, right? I’m leaving it anyway.) He gets nice performances from all of the actors and much like “The Wrestler,” you don’t have to be a big fan of the subject matter to enjoy “Black Swan.” It may even cause you to find a new appreciation for the ballet or lesbians for that matter.

I stayed awake through this entire movie because I didn’t want to miss the sexual scenes between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. It wasn’t as great as I had imagined in my head, but I couldn’t have expected that from a rated R movie. I give “Black Swan” a Coffee.

Also, someone remind me to start a ballerina company in the future. It’s like a farm for young girls that want to do anything to please you.

Movies I Slept Through – The Illusionist

“The Illusionist” is a French made animated movie that is very subtle and has almost no dialogue. In other words, it’s perfect to sleep through.

“The Illusionist” follows an aging magician in a world that just isn’t interested anymore. He’s being replaced by rock n’ roll and doesn’t know what to do with himself. He eventually meets a drunk that’s impressed by his magic. He’s then invited to Scotland where he meets a young woman who’s also impressed. When the man is leaving town, the young woman sneaks out of her home and onto the train. It’s kind of like Lolita except it isn’t sexual, and I’m pretty sure this woman is of age. Ok, ok, so I never finished Lolita(kept falling asleep) but I imagine it takes place in the type of world where an old man could impress a girl with magic tricks.

The animation is incredible. It manages to be grounded in reality and whimsical at the same time. I found myself dosing off a bit just because, well, no one was saying anything and I figured I could slip in a couple of z’s without it mattering.

“The Illusionist” is powerful, if you aren’t careful, it might make you remember you care about things. That being said, isn’t for everyone. If you’d be upset that the old man doesn’t even try to “tap that” then strap on your coma pants and snooze away, but if you’ve ever sat at your crappy job and wondered why your BS degree didn’t bring you all the riches the world can offer, then drink a cup of coffee or two before hand and enjoy.