Wednesday, April 19, 2017

1029. Candyman

Directed by Bernard Rose

I realize it doesn't make much sense thematically to place in this film in April, but I'm desperate to talk horror movies.  I am embarrassed to admit that I went to the theater to see both The Belko Experiment and Rings.  I also just watched a movie called Midnight Meat Train on Netflix.  Let's never speak of it.

The Candyman is an urban legend who is apparently summoned if you say his name five times in the mirror (Bloody Mary should have copyrighted that shtick).  If called, he will kill the summoner with a hook.  Helen is a grad student studying urban legends so naturally decides to try this out.  She learns that a woman named Ruthie Jean was recently murdered in the Cabrini-Green housing project, so again, she decides to pursue this because horror movie characters are deliciously idiotic.

I wouldn't say this was a good horror movie, but since I love the genre so much, I can even have fun with the poor quality ones (although even I have limits; see Midnight Meat Train).  It was interesting to see a horror movie that was focused (however slightly) on social issues.  Still, it wasn't at all frightening; Nicolas Cage has ruined the concept of scary bees for me.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Eddie Murphy was considered for the lead, but he was deemed too short.

Real bees were put in Tony Todd's mouth.  He wore a mouthguard to ensure they wouldn't go down his throat.

Monday, April 10, 2017

1028. The Hangover

The Hangover
Directed by Todd Phillips

I am reasonably sure I can guess what all my frequent commentators think of this movie.  I thought this would serve as a nice intellectual break after getting through all the Best Pictures on the List.  Presenting: A dumbed down version of Sideways.

To celebrate his upcoming wedding, Doug travels to Las Vegas for his bachelor party with his friends Stu (the straight man with an abusive girlfriend) and Phil (Bradley Cooper, who we are supposed to believe would be a teacher and not a model/actor).  They are forced to bring along Alan, Doug's soon-to-be brother-in-law who is the token weirdo of the bunch.  They toast the night on the roof of Caesar's Palace and wake up the next morning with no memory of what took place the night before.  Doug is missing, there's a tiger in the bathroom, and a baby in the closet.

So let's start with what I didn't like.  First and foremost, the flaming trashcan Mike Tyson makes an appearance.  We also have to deal with sexism (brainy successful brunette=cold bitch), racism (against both Asians and black people) and homophobia.  Which I guess only leaves out white, straight men (the film's target audience.  I am pissing myself off with these parentheses, so I will cut it out now (I promise).

Surprisingly, this is still one of the better dick flicks I have seen.  I did laugh at parts and the movie managed to avoid a lot of the toilet humor I associate with comedies like this.  Or, if it did, I have blocked it out and please don't remind me.

So I am ranking this in comparison to similar movies.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Mike Tyson admitted to being high on cocaine when he filmed his scenes.

Ken Jeong improvised his nudity.

Monday, April 3, 2017

1027. Spotlight

Directed by Tom McCarthy

I have finally gotten around to finishing my Best Picture series.  I am not sure how I will organize the next few entries, but I am sure a weak theme is forthcoming.

Spotlight is the true story of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team uncovering the child abuse scandal and cover up that took place in the local Catholic Archdiocese.  I had the statistic before and it still always shocks me: five percent of Catholic priests have been involved in "incidents" with children.  That completely blows my mind, as it should.

Obviously, the content of this film is so compelling and disturbing that it is hard for me to focus on the more technical aspects of the movie.  I am not sure they did anything particularly new with the genre; it was almost like they were too afraid to break out of the All the President's Men mold.  I enjoyed the format (i.e. showing the more mundane aspects of a reporter's life, documentary style, not making the reporters out to be saintly heroes, etc) especially since I work at a newsroom (and have witnessed many Ruffalo-esque meltdowns). Like I said, though, none of this is new.

Still, this is a story that needs to be told and the content is more important than the style anyway.  Recommended.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Did anyone else notice Michael Keaton pulling into a handicap space at the end?  What a dick.

During the breaks from filming, Mark Ruffalo would ask the real Michael Rezendes to say all his lines for him.

Most of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the scandal were Roman Catholic.

Click here to see Stephen Fry's condemnation of the Catholic Church.  If you can watch this without tearing up, you are stronger than me!