Friday, June 18, 2004

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Movie: Y Tu Mama Tambien
Director(s): Alfonso Cuaron

I have no idea what the title means; this is the controversial Mexican film from the director of the most recent Harry Potter film. Yes, it has tons of graphical sex -- I guess some people find that interesting. I found the characters idiotic and pointless. The story's about two rich Mexican teens who are bored with life and spend their time getting stoned or having wild sex. They go off on a trip to a secret beach with a beautiful woman who's just learned her husband is having an affair. On the trip the three talk about life, friends, sex, and have sex and fights. In the end they all go separate ways and it's like the trip changed them somehow; they grew up or changed or something. I didn't really care since I didn't really care for the loser characters. They were so full of themselves, bemoaning their lot in life yet ignoring everything given to them. However, I can see why some people found the film intriguing. It certainly is daring and provocative, both with the overt sexual imagery and the radical discussions of the characters. It's an unusual film in several ways. But none of that makes it a great film, especially if I'm not emotionally involved with the lives of the characters. It reminded me of Less Than Zero (a film about rich kids throwing away their lives for drugs). Daring and interesting, but distasteful at times and overall empty of morality or any kind of profound thought.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The Yards

Movie: The Yards

Interesting crime drama about a young parolee who finds himself enmeshed in the criminal underworld when he gets out of prison, soon he's the scapegoat for murder. Somewhat familiar story, but told with style and good performances.


Wednesday, December 26, 2001

You Can Count On Me

Movie: You Can Count On Me

Not at all what I'd expected. This is a story about a single mother whose troubled brother comes to stay for a while, leads her eight-year-old son in trouble, and then she has to kick him out. However, her own life isn't much better than his, as she's having an affair with her boss. Extremely realistic and well-acted, with no easy answers or pat solutions to complex problems. I really liked the way the woman was so frustrated and angry at herself for continuing the affair, even as she was driving to the motel for another clandestine meeting. She's a woman torn and uncertain, like most of us. However, the film's best feature (no answers) is also its worst, in that nothing is resolved or fixed by the end, and though we're left with an odd sense of hope, it was still unsatisfying. I felt the film had a message but in the end that message had yet to be delivered. I was also conscious that a fair amount of the dialogue included unnecessary swearing (I don't mind it when it establishes character or sets a mood, but swearing for no reason gets to be a drag). End result: okay film, but falls a little short of the mark.


Friday, June 6, 2008

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Movie: You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Warning: this is a very funny movie, but it's also extremely crude with a lot of sexual material. It is not a family movie and the trailers don't hint at that and I feel a lot of parents will be unpleasantly surprised, especially compared to Adam Sandler's tamer films. There's just a lot of raunchiness here that's unnecessary and distracting, which is disappointing, as the core story is hilarious -- the premise is a top Israeli secret agent who fakes his own death so he can move to New York and become a hairdresser -- and makes an appropriate mockery of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The casting is great, the sight gags are outrageous to the point of utter absurdity, and the whole thing would be a terrific goof except for the adult nature and crude humor scattered randomly through the thing. Not as bad as Borat, but similarly flawed. Disappointing, but only because it could have been terrific; in the end I still liked it more than I hated it.


Friday, July 13, 2007

You Kill Me

Movie: You Kill Me

This is sort of a low key black comedy about an alcoholic hitman (brilliantly played by Ben Kingsley) who goes into AA and struggles to figure out his life. He meets a beautiful woman (Tea Leoni) who accepts his odd career choice, and together he learns to be a good hitman again. Not quite as brilliant as it sounds, but more interesting than most movies these days. Good performances and some moments of genius, but in the end, not much beyond the clever premise.


Friday, January 28, 2000

You've Got Mail

Movie: You've Got Mail (1998)
Writer(s): Miklos Laszlo (play), Samson Raphaelson (original film), Nora Ephron, and Delia Ephron
Director(s): Nora Ephron

I didn't want to like this; though I like Tom Hanks and I'm huge Meg Ryan fan, I figured this was nothing more than a rehash of Sleepless In Seattle except on AOL. The e-mail aspect of things didn't excite me (though I'm into technology) because I figured the film (like 99.9% of movies) would get it all wrong. I was pleasantly surprised. Meg was incredible, Hanks impressive, and the technology angle was barely visible (though I did like the subtle [and never mentioned] touch that businessman Hanks used a boring Windows PC and Meg a cool Apple Macintosh PowerBook -- the screen shots were real, not faked). The writing was deft, and though I knew I was being manipulated and resisted until almost the end, I finally caved in. I guess I'm just a sap for this kind of stuff. Ultimately, the movie was so well done I watched the director's commentary track! (Which was surprisingly good, I might add. Very interesting, both from technical and writing viewpoints. It helped that director Nora co-wrote the script -- I've listened to director-only commentary tracks and they aren't always insightful into the soul of the project.)