Rainy Monday Film Fest

A stormy couple days here in Gomorrah, and I got some lovely, sedating new stabby feet meds, ergo I figures I’d just chill and watch some movies.  Herewith, my reactions.

*- “Stoned” is a 2005 biopic of Rolling Stones founder and guitarist, Brian Jones. If you’ve seen the world’s most successful rock band ever, Mick Jagger is the lead singer with the big lips. The little guy playing drums is Charlie Watts. The two scary looking skinny guitarists are Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. Brian Jones, you’ll recognize as the one who’s been dead for 40+ years and was largely unimportant the last few years before that. Being a classic rock fan. I knew his story before I popped this in the dvd player. Basically, the guy had too big a drug problem to be in the Rolling Stones.

Think about that: too big a druggie to work with Keith Richards. According to the surviving Stones, he became paranoid and stopped showing up for recording sessions, etc.  They fired him. A month later, he was dead in his swimming pool.  The movie posits that he was drowned by builder/hired hanger-on Frank Thorogood. I’d posit that if Frank Thorogood truly did drown Brian Jones, then he should have been knighted.  Jones was a dick. 

The performances were great. The problem is that the main character is so unlikable, that no actor could make me feel bad when he bought it. 

It was worth watching as a colorful chronicle of the 60’s “revolution.” I’m glad the Stones survived, at least.
GRADE: C+

*-Inception
Just, damn. The whole movie is just…damn.  Amazing performances, tight story. Just unlike anything else.  The sequences with Joseph Gordon-Leavitt fighting in the hotel hallway are mindblowing. I had to watch it a few times, but Inception is the kind of movie you can watch repeatedly without growing bored. How could anyone who’s had the NyQuil dreams I have not just adore a movie about people breaking into other people’s dreams? Spectacular.
GRADE: A+

*- Alice in Wonderland is Tim Burton’s latest remake. I wasn’t a big fan of his “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” with Johnny Depp playing Michael Jackson playing Willy Wonka. I figured this would be a similar retread. I was wrong. I thought Alice was a happy surprise, funny, well-acted, and splendidly adapted. Burton added a plot, tying together many of the well-known “Adventures.” Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (two Burton veterans) both chew up the scenery, but it’s the lovely Alice that gives the movie its heart.  There were some marvelous voice actors, but my favorite was Stephen Fry’s drawling take as The Cheshire Cat. Alan Rickman was great, too, as the caterpillar.  I give it a B+ instead of A-minus, only because as amazing as the Cheshire Cat, rabbit, and dormouse are, some of the CGI images creeped me out after awhile–The Tweedles, namely. Ookey little bastards. Then again, they were pretty ookey in the book, too.  Loved the Danny Elfman score, and Crispin Glover in an awesome supporting role, too. Good fun.
GRADE: B+

*- Hot Tub Time Machine just sounded dumb, but i’d heard good things about it. If you were a young adult in 1986, you’ll probably laugh as much as I did.  Old friends John Cusack and Craig Robinson accompany their demented asshole friend, Rob Corddry, on a ski weekend. They end up going back in time in???? Yup. You guessed it.  Cusack won an award for “Best Pot Smoking Scene,” and deservedly so.  The movie is chock full of vile language, sex, nudity, and other misbehavior. These traits aren’t necessarily bad, if the dialogue is good. There are a lot of marvelous jokes in HTTM. I don’t usually like Corddry, and his character is on the despicable side, but he makes it work. It would’ve been easy to make his Lou redeem himself at some point, but he’s still an asshole at the end.  Just in a better way. It’s fitting that Cusack stars, since he was in so many 80’s teen films.  Everybody seemed to have fun with this, especially Robinson, who sobs while a buxom groupie mounts him in a giant bubble bath. Loved the 80’s music soundtrack, and Crispin Glover in an awesome supporting role, too.
GRADE: B+

Note: I haven’t seen Crispin Glover in quite some time, then he pops up in two 2010 films? On the same night? Freaky.

*- Zack & Miri Make a Porno is a Kevin Smith movie. That tells you there’s voluminous profanity, hockey, shit jokes, and a lot of sex dialogue. Having seen most of his work, i’d say this one is his most-accessible. It’s funny, and it actually has more heart than a movie about making a porno would be expected to have.  There’s a warm chemistry between Zack and Miri, and Craig Robinson (again!) is solid and funny as Zack’s friend, who’s waiting on a settlement to become “Oprah rich.”  The story isn’t surprising, but the movie works. Well.  As good as everyone else is, I think Justin Long steals the whole movie as Miri’s high school crush’s gay porn actor boyfriend. “I will be your sherpa up the mountain of gayness.”  Hysterical.
GRADE: A-

Just my take. Happy Wednesday.

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2 Responses to “Rainy Monday Film Fest”

  1. “Hot Tub Time Machine” sounded like a movie I would normally avoid, especially since the humor seems directed at guys: but since I was a young adult in 1986 (albeit with two kids already), I’ll give it a try. I think I’d really enjoy “Stoned” however: I’m a longtime Stones fan, and I just read Keith Richards’ memoirs. (I thought he was a charming oaf even if he was a strung-out drug addict through most of the 70s. ) But when rock critics try to lump Brian Jones’ death with Janis Joplin’s and Jimmy Hendrix’s, I want to say “Stop, don’t sully the memories of the last two by throwing in Jones.” He was a marginally good musician but contributed very little to the Stones’ repertoire of music, given some of their best work came after Jones died. Watching a movie about his death maybe is a little grim, but what rocker can resist seeing the Stones in the 60s?

    Thank you for the reviews, tom. Hope your weekend is less rainy and your feet are pain-free.

    • Jones was a symbol, really. He never wrote songs, and by the end, he was just a rare session musician. Paddy Considine did a great job playing Frank Thorogood as an “everyman,” who finally just snapped at how this spoiled idiot treated him. Who knows what Hendrix would’ve accomplished? Or Jim Morrison, who’d left his teen-idol thing behind, and put out L.A. Woman, The Doors’ best work, to me.

      Pity we can’t borrow a hot tub, and go back in time for them.

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