Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Frozen is the latest animated Disney flick.  It's also a musical.  It's also a movie that contains a living snowman of subnormal human intelligence, a character for whose death you will pray.  It has a cast otherwise entirely comprised of white characters of purest Aryan blood and blandest American personality (oh wait, there's a sentient reindeer).  Its songs are pure agony.

According to a popular website, 89% of American film critics are favorably disposed toward Frozen, as well as 90% of the same website's users.  It has made a third of a billion dollars in the US alone, and that means it ain't just kiddies going to see it.  It had been a while since I took my niece to the movies, so I thought, "the hell with it, let's go."

Here's the movie in essence:  there's two nice girlie princesses, one of whom possesses the X-man like power to manipulate ice with her brains.  The other one is her normal sister.  Some shit happens and they have to magically erase the normal sister's memory for some reason, and the ice princess for some reason isn't allowed to show off her super powers any more.  The parents fucking die and the sisters are on their own.  Later, the older sister comes of age and is getting crowned queen.  During the ceremony she freaks out and freezes the whole kingdom, then runs off and builds an ice castle up in the hills.  The little sister goes hunting for her and runs into a big handsome guy who helps her out.  They don't like each other at first, then they like each other, etc.  The fucking snowman shows up, along with some villains who capture the ice queen.  Some more shit happens and the good guys win.  They don't kill the villain because they are nice.  They don't kill the snowman because the filmmakers hate us. 

Thematically it's harmless.  It tells the kiddies, uhh, "don't give up on your loved ones," I guess.  Too bad it had to be expressed with such banality and lack of imagination.  And those fucking songs. Ugh.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Iron Man Three

I'm not going to refrain from spoilers here because...who really gives a shit?  If you are into Iron Man and stuff, don't read it.  I neither liked it or hated it.  I knew what I was getting into.  Here are some observations:

Iron Man 3 is really loud.

Robert Downey calls a 10 year old orphan a pussy, which was cool.

The blond who plays his girlfriend is a really dull actress.  The movie shows off her abs toward the end, but I think that's CGI because she's such a bean-pole.  Everybody has to have abs in these flicks though.

I hope they shoved a few million dollars up Ben Kingsley's ass for being in this.  You figure that guy has better things to do, but maybe he has a drug addiction to feed, so...  He and Robert Downey are the best things about the movie.

Robert Downey's character has "post traumatic stress" syndrome in the movie, which makes him wuss out a lot.  I guess they wanted to add some kind of bullshit drama to a movie in which people really only want to see explosions and PG-13 violence.  This adds an unnecessary 30 minutes to the running time.

The villains are people who undergo some kind of weird DNA thing that turns them into fire monster people. As the movie goes along, it gives them increasing superhuman qualities because otherwise Iron Man could easily just rip their fucking heads off and there wouldn't be much of a challenge for him.  I think people would have liked to watch him rip some heads off.  Since they're fire monster people, the film makers could easily PG-13ify the onscreen manual decapitations.  These guys are just arbitrarily superhuman--whatever the screenplay needs to provide a challenge to Iron Man, they give to these assholes.  At one point, Guy Pearce shoots fire out of his mouth and I thought, "oh, so they can do that now too, huh?  Gosh."  Guy Pearce is the villain, by the way.  SPOILER  He is a forgettable villain.

At the end Robert Downey tells the blond that he's not going to be the Iron Man anymore, and in fact blows up all his Iron Man suits, erasing any chance of more sequels, to demonstrate that he's going to dedicate himself to their relationship.  Relationships, after all, are what superhero movies are about.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Great and Poweful Oz AND Jack the Giant Slayer

While not a remake, The Great and Powerful Oz is a prequel to the venerated classic, which has endured to become a part of the American DNA.  Kids born 70 years after its release know it as well as their grandparents.  A modern take on characters from the original film, naturally, leads to hope and trepidation.  It could be transcendent and it could be awful.

Disney, by unleashing a greasy, sleazy, yet also wooden James Franco in the title role, does its best to defile our collective memory of the Wizard of Oz.  "Get over it," you might say, "people whined about the Transformer movies ruining their childhood memories."  But the Transformers were disposable to begin with.  The TV cartoon was an advertisement for plastic toys.  The Transformer movies are consumer culture, jerking itself off.   The Wizard of Oz is sacred.

Rat-brained Disney executives must have thought, "what the Wizard of Oz really needed was sex."  So they conceived of the Oz character as a seducer.  After a beautiful animated opening credit sequence, the movie begins in black and white with James Franco as a magician in a traveling circus stopped in the middle of Kansas, of course.  He has a clueless new stage assistant and he is trying to get into her pants.   Before he can manage that, the circus strongman discovers James Franco has been screwing his wife.  The strongman gives chase, threatening to kill him, and James Franco jumps into a hot air balloon to escape.  The twister shows up and sucks the balloon into Oz where he lands in its magical wilderness.

The first person he meets is Mila Kunis, a foxy but naive witch who, for some reason, is out wandering around Oz's boondocks.  James Franco turns on the charm and next thing you know he's got his tongue down her throat.  She takes him to the emerald city where he meets Mila's sister, another of the witches.  They, too, hook up.  Mila finds out, gets mad, and turns into the famous green wicked witch, but with cleavage.  Prominent green cleavage.  They chase him off and he meets the good witch, but they don't hook up until after the happy ending.

OK, it's all pretty tame, really.  But you know what the Wizard of Oz didn't have an ounce of?  Sexual tension.  It isn't that kind of movie.  The Great and Powerful Oz has sexual tension, and it shouldn't, however slight the amount.  They've been inserting sexuality into kid movies for a while now.  Chipmunks on a stripper pole.  A prostitution joke in Cat in the Hat.  God knows what's in the Smurf movies.  Parents either don't mind, or don't notice.  It's a diseased practice by cynical executives to broaden the appeal of these movies, so "parents can enjoy them as well as the kids."  You know how to appeal to both audiences?  Make a smart and fun movie.  This one at least doesn't have such a  grotesque sensibility to put a stripper pole joke in there, but you know some producer demanded Mila's tits be on display.

When I said James Franco was wooden, I mean he comes off like a kid in a middle school production.  At least Rachel W. commits to her silly part, teeth gnashing an' all.  Jimbo smirks through the whole thing like it's beneath him, but I bet that fat paycheck wasn't beneath him.  You sold your soul, dude, chew some fucking scenery for us.  Michelle Williams as the good witch is another mis-casting, and she seems not to know what to do with the part.  Maybe she's so used to appearing in those emotionally shattering dramas that she experienced cognitive dissonance working on this flick.  Mila isn't an actress so much as eye candy, always playing herself in her movies, which is fine.  In a different movie, I'd love to see her painted green, busting out of her dress.

The effects are fine, blah blah, but after a while I stopped giving a shit, the movie was so bad.  I would'a walked out but was with my buddy Dave, and he got up to take a leak during the climactic scene, which should tell you how invested we were in the whole thing.

I hope they shoved a ton of money up the director Sam Raimi's ass, because this is easily the worst thing he's done.  And Spider Man 3 was pretty bad.

So I thought, "this is the worst movie I've seen this year."  That is, until I saw Jack the Giant Slayer.

When mentioning to folks I saw this one and didn't like it, the general response was, "wait, you didn't know it was gonna be a piece of shit?"  Not quite.   I love some big time special effects and read a little about this one that suggested they might push it into the guilty pleasure category, like Dante's Peak, the Matrix sequels, and the immortal Twister.  Director Bryan Singer has done some decent stuff.  Ewen MacGregor, Eddie Marsan, and the evil dude from Deadwood are in it.  It could be ok, right?

It wasn't ok.

A Good Looking Boy plays Jack, who is deemed by his cranky uncle to be stupid and forgetful, but who is in fact not stupid enough to be entertaining.  He is merely a valiant soul at the mercy of unfortunate circumstances.  He is sent away to sell the fambly cow, but gets these beans---well you know the story.  There's a princess, some good guys, a magical giant-controlling crown that is coveted by the bad guy, annoyingly portrayed by a buck toothed Stanley Tucci.  I like Stanley well enough, but a villain has got to be watchable.  It is unpleasant to have a guy so bereft of charisma you develop a burning need to watch them die.  Darth Vader was evil, but he was also seriously cool.  Know what I mean?  I digress.

Oh, and there are a bunch of giants.  A bunch of gross giants.  The movie revels in their disgusting anatomies.  The camera veers often into their mouths, showing in loving detail their rotting teeth and tongues and uvulas.  It caresses their hairy, warty faces and limbs.  The movie's sound designers, I imagine, wouldn't have been satisfied were there not a giant fart or two to further gross us out.  This is what pushed the movie past Oz in the worst of the year sweepstakes. 

Forget the moronic script and its characterless protagonist and smarmy, wussy villain.  Forget that it tries to have its cake and eat it too by employing light whimsy next to near-Braveheart levels of battle violence and death--they get away with it by not being very explicit, but a lot of people die horribly here.  Forget the cynicism of producers who won't give a new idea the time of day, but will dump 200 million dollars into a crappy fairy tale because, uh, people have heard of it before. It's the grody to the max giants that give this one the edge.  Worst of '13 so far.  Yuck!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Oblivion is the new Tom Cruise movie in which his character's name is Jack and in which he gets it on with not one, but two supermodel types, because he is not gay.  Also notable about the movie is his dick-and-balls shaped flying machine.

Tom plays a sort of mechanic in an apocalyptic future earth where aliens or some shit have destroyed civilization.  Humans won out in the end though, but have to live off-planet in a giant space pyramid.  This is because Earth is uninhabitable, even though Tom and his hot babes can live there without getting radiation sickness or sprouting extra heads.  He works on these big, flying, heavily-armed orbs that swoop around some giant water-sucking machines in the ocean, protecting the machines from enemies of some sort.

Tom and his hot babe partner, we are innocently informed by a voice over, undergo "mandatory memory wipes" every 6 years, so he is puzzled when a ship carrying sleeping humans crashes and the big orbs show up and start blasting them.  He manages to save one of the humans, a supermodel who, naturally, turns out to be a geologist.  This is hot babe number two, to whom Tom occasionally screams, "WHO ARE YOU?"  They get chased by some mean looking beings in black masks who are actually humans in disguise, led by Morgan Freeman.  This shit is mostly shown in the commercials, so I'm not giving much away, in case you're getting pissed off about spoilers.

Anyway, a bunch of special effects happen, then there's a big space explosion.  The movie's denouement, once considered, would lead to a very strange polygamous relationship.  I'd tell you why, but that would be spoiling.  I'll just say, I would rather have seen that movie than Oblivion.

See, Oblivion has a lot of style and little substance.  Its story is bullshit sci fi that could have been written by a kid in middle school.  I dug some of the computer effects, of course, and there were a handful of nice, quiet "cinematic" moments, but it's lightweight stuff pretending to be heavy.  This ain't 2001, or even 2010.  Well, maybe 2010.

Ah, no it isn't.

Numerically smaller, we have 42.  This is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black guy to play in major league baseball.  Jackie gets hired by a huffing and puffing elderly Harrison Ford, who is finally playing characters his own age after years onscreen romancing women 30 years younger.  Harrison's character is the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He realizes there's a lot of money to be made from black people, who are either too intimidated to come to games by all the white assholes, or who just don't give a shit because there are no blacks playing.  I'm not sure why they weren't coming.  Anyway, he chooses Jackie for this experiment which leads to the inevitable threats of violence, racial epithet hurling by team members, opposing team members, coaches, trainers, cops, and both adult and child baseball fans.

Robinson is played by an actor named Chadwick Boseman.  Chadwick, for god's sake.  He's cool headed, good lookin' and smoldering, and has a devoted wife, with whom there are many, many scenes with exchanges that might read something like this in the screenplay:

       Jackie:  I love you.
       Wife:  Baby I believe in you.
       Jackie:  I couldn't do it without you baby.
       (they fuck)

Chadwick is charismatic enough, but I think it's a pretty muted performance.  It has little humor.  He's "resolved," persevering through outrage, humiliation and physical abuse, but the only other part of him we see is in the interminable scenes with the wife.  He's a devoted husband, we get it, but there is more to a person than that.  If you're making a biopic, show us a human being.

This is an extremely limited take on both a historical figure and the larger issue of racism and the introduction of blacks into baseball.  SPOILER  The movie focuses solely on Jackie's first year in the pros.  You see a bunch of drama, he hits a home run and runs in slo-mo around the bases while triumphant music plays, and that's it.  It's a wasted opportunity.  A more interesting flick would have shown his first season, with the persecution and suffering, then followed the rest of his career while showing how bringing in more black players affected the game and also the culture as a whole.  This movie doesn't even tell you if Jackie is alive or dead now.  It wants us to admire its hero because...he's a HERO god damn it!

Another thing that bugged me about this flick is its lack of serious profanity.  There is a panoply of racial slurs, naturally, but nary another cuss word.  When you have heavy duty stuff going on, especially dealing with SPORTS figures, there should be a symphony of foul language because that's how they will talk.  Yes, I understand it's because the kids have to be able to see it.

Too bad Oliver Stone wasn't hired to make this movie.  It could have been a scorcher.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Move review: the Avengers

Writing this late in the game---Avengers is now something like number three on the list of all time moneymaking flicks--but whatever.

When I saw it, the theater was packed and there was a definite excitement coming from the audience before the lights went down.  This energy carried throughout the first third of the movie or so, when the audience laughed at every goddamn thing that was said by any character on the screen, as if they were watching a comedy.  It's very annoying when I am more aware of the audience than I am of the events on the screen.  I guess that should have been a good indicator of the flick's financial destiny.  The Avengers really speaks to the American hive mind.

Being irritated in this way sucks me out of a story and prevents me from developing a clear opinion of a movie.  I'm not altogether sure how much I liked the Avengers.  There are parts I found entertaining--it has two really good performances, Iron Man and the Hulk, respectively played by Bob Downey and Mark Ruffalo, the guy who had sex with Julianne Moore in that lesbian movie from a couple years ago.  Bob Downey is a fast talking smartass and Ruffalo gives, uhh, a nuanced performance as Bruce Banner (the Hulk when he's just a guy).  Then you got Thor and Capt America, both of whom are played by modern beefcake actors who, in some other movies, have acquitted themselves pretty well.  In the Avengers, they just need to flex some biceps and glutes and that's all that is required.  Then there are the mortals played by Hurt Locker and hot piece of ass Scarlette Johanson.  Sorry to be sexualist, but that's pretty much why she's there.  Check out the scene where, in full 3-D, there is an extended shot of her ass right in the foreground, full focus.  They give her some sort of bullshit back story, but nobody cares--there's her ass in 3-D.  Her ASS...in THREE DEE.  Honest, someone made that comment to me a couple weeks ago.

The ensemble of actors does well enough together.  Their evolving relationships are the real heart of the movie, which I will ascribe to nerd auteur extraordinaire Joss Whedon, who I believe wrote the thing.  Too bad the movie is overloaded with extended action sequences, though.  Here's the deal--movies didn't used to feature action scenes that lasted 20 minutes at a stretch.  The last 40 minutes of this one consist of one long, long part where aliens fuck shit up in NYC while the Avengers whoop ass on an endless stream of generic alien bad guys.  Evidently Hollywood has learned from the extreme success of those Transformer movies that excessive mayhem is what audiences want.  Hey, maybe it is, but that doesn't stop the action from becoming totally meaningless.  It loses narrative context and causes me to cease giving a shit.  This kind of makes me a hypocrite because one thing I've always wanted to do was create a lengthy DVD by harvesting all the best action/explosion/destruction scenes from various movies without the "story" parts, calling it "Explosion Porn."  Movies like Avengers, though, try to have the cake and eat it too.

Still, that giddy, fidgeting, giggling audience prevented me from getting a real feel for it.  It was a couple years ago that I saw the movie, Kick Ass, and the audience consisted of fanboys slavering over it, laughing at almost nothing, just high on the fact their movie got made.  I didn't think much of the movie, but understood I had some antipathy for it just because of the audience.  I watched it again on Netflix and liked it even less.  I'll give the Avengers another chance too.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Movies: 21 Jump St & Jeff Who Lives at Home

21 Jump St was announced to the nauseated jeering of everyone who remembers the existence of the original TV show starring some heartthrob guys.  I never gave a shit about the show but joined in the jeering because--because fuck Hollywood for its lack of vision, for its unwillingness to take risks on actual creativity, for recycling crap we'd all be better off leaving in the garbage dump of culture.  21 Jump St was a bad show.  Why make a movie?

Then you have Jonah Hill, the toad-like fat guy who strangely gets uglier as he gets skinnier, who is always unpleasant on the screen.  Channing Tatum I knew little about, other than him appearing in movies requiring beefcake onscreen for gay men to swoon over.  (Oh, and I'd like to punch out his first name.  Parents who give their kids a last name for a first name should be jailed.)  Channing Tatum just seemed like another faceless "good looking" actor.  Dime a dozen.

Goddamn if the movie isn't really funny though.  Skinny-fat-ass plays the guy who in high school got the good grades but failed with the gals and the cool kids.  Beefcake was a big jock, of course.  They become cops who team up because their skills complement each other, blah blah.  They go to high school to bust some kind of drug thing and their social roles become reversed to comic effect.   Jonah Hill gets a romantic interest which creeped me out because dude is so visually unappealing.  The cute chick is defiled when he kisses her.  I digress.

The real winners here are Beefcake and James Franco's little brother, who has a breakout role as a high school cool-kid.  I don't know his name.  Beefcake has some real comic skill.  Though you sense his intelligence, he pulls off the role of total dipshit pretty effectively.  Will Ferrell, by comparison, fails miserably at comedy because his characters are all aware they are funny.  You know, all that wink-wink nudge-nudge bullshit.  Anyway, I look forward to seeing Channing Tatum (pisses me off just to type that name) in some more comedies.  Properly deployed, he's good.

Jeff Who Lives at Home is a movie about as ambitious as its title character, a shiftless dopesmoker living in his mom's basement.  He lives according to random stuff that he perceives as signals from "the universe."  Sent out to buy some glue to fix a cabinet, Jeff (Jason Seagull) gets sidetracked by the universe and winds up having some random adventures.  He meets up with his brother, a total asshole played by Ed Helms from the flick Cedar Rapids, and they bitch at each other and run around in circles.  Susan Sarandon is their mom, in a mostly superfluous role that gives the movie the opportunity to have Susan Sarandon in it, but I'm not sure what else.

It's a likable enough movie with a handful of laughs, but it isn't really about anything.  The only character arc I could detect was the Ed Helms character, who learns he's an asshole and is sorta redeemed at the end.  Jeff and his mom are nice people but uninteresting.  They don't learn anything, they don't change, there is no conflict other than dude being lazy and his mom getting on his case, but only a little bit.  What is there to recommend here?  Not much.  It isn't bad, just kind of pointless.

This flick was made by the Duplass bros who recently made Cyrus, which, by god, starred skinny-fat-ass himself, but in much fatter shape.  That one was a lot funnier and edgier than Jeff Who Lives at Home.  Jeff seems to have been made so, uhh, they could make something, uhh, dramatic.  Or something.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Movie: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye

This is a documentary/swooning love letter to hideous transsexual, Genesis P-Orridge, who is best known as the founder of Throbbing Gristle (TG), the notorious industrial music pioneers.  The titular Lady Jaye is P-Orridge's supposed soul mate--a good looking chick, about 20 years his junior.  In articles and interviews about the movie, a lot of noise is made about theirs being some kind of magnificent love affair, but you won't get any sense of that upon seeing it.

What you get is a whole lot of Genesis P-Orridge (GP-O hereafter) mugging, posing, preening for the camera.  Pursing his lips for the camera.  Baring his gross fake boobs for the camera...  The uninitiated viewer will get a brief overview of GP-O's career in transgressive art, but mostly the film shows us an aging narcissist, though I doubt that is the filmmaker's intention.  No matter how much lip-service is paid to Lady Jaye's supposed brilliance and importance, the film gives me the sense she was more fodder for GP-O's narcissism--like a fashion accessory--or, worse, art material.  Check this out:

They decided to get a series of plastic surgeries to look more like one another as an "art project" to announce the arrival of a new hermaphroditic gender or some shit like that.  Here's this gnarly old weirdo who has become a legend of sorts for doing wild and nasty stuff, then you have this perfectly good looking young woman in his orbit.  Whose idea do you think it was to start doing the face-cutting?  Surely not the guy who used to chew on used tampons!  Can you say, "Svengali?"

I know it sounds like I have an ax to grind here, but I just want the material to be honest with us--the movie is not about the chick.  GP-O is a larger than life subject, who carries the documentary easily enough.  Don't tell us we're watching a love story.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

STORY IDEA #3 this one's creepy

This is inspired by the movie Chronicle, in which some kids gain telekinetic powers.

You have this guy who is sort of a sleazeball who develops a latent talent of telekinesis as an adult.  Naturally he uses it to commit crimes--stealing from banks, vandalizing shit, etc, but he doesn't have it in him to, say, commit rape or kill someone using his powers.

Because he can't hide the fact he is an asshole though, he can't get anyone to have sex with him except for prostitutes and women who only value him for his apparent wealth, and he wants to have children with what he sees as a classier sort of woman.  He begins impregnating women anonymously, some of whom figure it's their husbands or significant others who have fathered the child, but some of the women are mystified as to how they got pregnant, some even claiming it to be the work of gods or something.

After a couple years, the children begin to show telekinetic powers, solidifying the belief of some that they were indeed impregnated by god.  None of the kids look like their supposed fathers, and many are kind of homely perhaps sharing a pronounced facial feature of their creepy unknown actual father.

Hijinx ensue and, after a time lapse, we learn they have taken over the world, using their inherited skills to conquer and oppress.  After all, they're all descended from a total asshole sleazeball who uses his power for personal gain and wickedness.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


There's a big boxing match and the arena is filled with people eager to watch two guys beat the daylights out of each other.  The announcer does his thing, the referee tells the fighters not to punch each other in the balls, etc.  The bell rings and....one fighter goes to one knee and lowers his head to the other, declaring "Oh my Lord, I pledge eternal fealty to thee."  Something like that.  The other boxer tells him "rise and take your place at my side. blah blah"    Other boxers come from the dressing rooms and audience and enter the ring, drawn by a call unheard by non-boxers.  They all pledge allegiance to the main boxer who gives a speech then sets them all loose on the audience.  The boxers start beating the shit out of audience members and there's a general stampede for the exits.  Cops draw out their batons and battle with the deranged fighters.  Not sure where this is going.


The filth encrusted sidewalks of San Francisco become mysteriously spotless one morning.  The city did not clean them, obviously.  God did it.  Satan awakens simultaneously in the minds of a hundred bums and junkies, who are delighted at this blank canvas and the renewed opportunity to show their contempt for the world and the way it has screwed him over.  They assemble in a military-like formation and march to the sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo near 9th and Market.  In unison, they drop their pants and unleash the contents of their bowels onto the sidewalk.  Immediately, at the moment their effluvia touches the pavement, all begin shuddering violently as if seized by a powerful electrical shock, then drop unconscious to the pavement, which has become spotless again.  See, God decided he'd had enough and would no longer allow Satan to befoul the streets through his human agents--this is a means of exorcising Satan from their souls.


Hugo is a pretty dull movie with fantastic set design and 3-D effects.  It has some kid who lives in a bustling train station back in olden tyme Paris or some place like that.  Like all movie kids, this one is plucky, resourceful, blah blah blah.  He fixes clocks around the place, steals shit, and runs from Borat, who wants to throw him in child prison.  There's a mean old guy and this robot that mostly doesn't do anything.  The old guy has a terrible secret which the movie endlessly delays revealing, giving him numerous opportunities to express his anguish, as the story creeps toward it's less than fantastical conclusion.  Everybody is redeemed at the end and we are meant to be enchanted.  Snore.

In terms of technology though, this flick is outstanding.  It's worth sneaking into the theater for 20 minutes or so to check out the movie's use of 3-D, which is unlike what I'd seen before.  It uses it for depth and texture, rather than as a gimmick to make you dodge your head to the side.  Wet cobblestones look realistic, for example, as does moisture glimmering on a wooden railroad tie.  Pretty cool, but ultimately it does not redeem this lugubrious movie, made all the worse in that it's marketed as a family movie.  Take your kids if you want to give them a nap.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Woody Allen's 502nd movie, 12am in Paris, takes place in the present by day, and olden tymes by night.  Owen Wilson, who shall hereafter be referred to as "Dicknose," plays Woody's surrogate (Wilson has this misshapen nose that looks like a man's ding dong, in case you don't know what he looks like).  Apparently the director finally deems himself too old to appear in his movies with hot young actresses as love interests.   Dicknose plays a romantic or something whose fantasy to live in 1930's Paris comes true each night, when he hobnobs with lotso historical artists, writers and painters.  They talk a lot of art and philosophy and stuff, which is cool for a fairly mainstream offering like this.  Woody makes Dali come off as a buffoon, which I didn't care for, since his screenplay gives cinematic head to all the other historical guys.  I've always thought of Allen as a jerk anyway, so why act offended, right?  It's an ok movie though, very cute.  Lots of old ladies in the theater.

Tree of Life is this boring movie I was hoping would be a lot more sci-fi, since in the ads you saw gas giant planets, nebulas, dinosaurs and other neat things, but the bulk of it is slice-o-life rural Texas.  There's this family with three boys, a cute mom, and a total asshole dad.  He doesn't rape or beat the kids--nothing like that.  He's just this stern father, and you get many opportunities to observe him being stern and dislike-able. It seems like you often see these dramatic flicks with dysfunctional people, but you never get a sense of, say, why the cute mom would have wanted to fuck this dour asshole in the first place, much less marry him.

Another good example of this is the movie called Take Shelter, which is about some psycho who hallucinates the world's coming to an end.  Come to think of it, it's the same actress from Tree of Life who is married to the nut case in Take Shelter.  He's this  unsmiling, mumbling blue collar dude who dutifully performs his role as husband and father and all that, but doesn't exhibit anything resembling a likable human personality--you get no idea how he could have landed a hot piece of ass like the chick from Tree of Life.  These movies expect you to just accept that these people love each other so they can get on with showing you all the bleak shit the filmmakers love so much.  

This isn't to say ToL or Take Shelter are "bad" movies, per se.  They're just both kind of a drag unless you really commit to engaging them on their own terms.