2013 Summary

















Well, the first year is done.
If nothing else, I've had a lot of fun.

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Top 5 Rants:
Man of Steel
"The Butler" Serves Us Lies?
The Man Who Fell to Earth
The Piano
Vinyl

Until next year, cheers!
~ Movie Micah

December Summary






















ACTION/ADVENTURE:
Die Hard
Jurassic Park III
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Best: "Die Hard"
Worst: "Jurassic Park III" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"


CLASSICS:
Blackmail
Dumbo
Now, Voyager
Rashômon
Ran
The Battle of Algiers
The Big Heat
The Big Sleep
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Phantom Carriage
The Red Shoes
The Thin Man
To Be or Not To Be
West Side Story
Vertigo
Z

Best: "Z"
Worst: "West Side Story


COMEDY:
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Stranger Than Fiction

Best: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"


DOCUMENTARY:
Cutie and the Boxer
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?

Best: "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?"
Worst: "Cutie and the Boxer"


DRAMA:
American Hustle
Blue Velvet
Dancer in the Dark
Glory
Killer of Sheep
The King of Comedy

Best: "Killer of Sheep"
Worst: "American Hustle"


FAMILY:
Frozen
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
The Nightmare Before Christmas

Best: "The Nightmare Before Christmas"...though I wouldn't consider it to be a kids' movie
Worst: "Frozen"


FOREIGN:
La Cage aux Folles
In the Realm of Senses

Best: "La Cage aux Folles"
Worst: "In the Realm of Senses"...no....just no....


THRILLER/HORROR:
Europa Report
Se7en
The Haunting
The Sixth Sense
The Thing

Best: "Se7en"
Worst: "The Thing"


GUEST REVIEWS:
Oldboy (2013) ★★★
Saving Mr. Banks ★★★★
Thor: The Dark World ★★★

OTHER:
Best Movies Seen in 2013
Top 10 Movies of 2013


Top 10 Movies of 2013
















Ladies and gentlemen...the moment of truth. (Can you feel the pretentiousness?)
Here is my list of the top 10 movies of 2013. Keep in mind that there were many movies that I wanted to see like "Nebraska", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "The Act of Killing", "Kill Your Darlings", "Blue Is the Warmest Color", and "Her"; but alas, living in a small town means you get no limited release films.
So...here's the list:


10. The Conjuring
James Wan's re-invention of the horror film. "Scary" hardly does it justice. Yet beneath the scares and screams, is a tightly crafted and precisely filmed movie.

9. Fruitvale Station
A day in the life of Oscar Grant. It's an unimportant day to all but the viewer. Clever and emotional.

8. Prisoners
Yes, surprising to many to see this on here. I was immensely impressed with this thriller. It's fueled by good writing and a great performance by Jake Gyllenhall.

7. Trance
Danny Boyle's newest film is a hypnosis-heist complicated mess. But it is beautiful and it was the most fun I've had watching a movie all year.

6. Gravity
I wasn't as impressed with this film as the next person was. Still, the movie is quite spectacular and the rising star of the picture is cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

5. Blackfish
Not only is it the best documentary I've seen all year, it's one of the best films. "Blackfish" is a film with a purpose; but its impact stretches far beyond that.

4. To the Wonder
Terrence Malick's film of love coincidentally also shot by Lubezki. Beautiful as always and full of intangibles. His movies always leave a mark on me.

3. Blue Jasmine
Woody Allen's dark, insane world of a woman fallen from riches. Featuring the performance of the year by Cate Blanchett, this movie is one that pulls you in.

2. 12 Years a Slave
The true story of Solomon Northup. Steve McQueen brings the sad story to life. Brutal beyond words, this film is powerful and filled with unforgettable scenes.

1. Upstream Color
I struggled a long time with the top two movies on this list. But in the end, it never felt right to not put Shane Carruth's visionary masterpiece at the very top. "Upstream Color" is a movie that many will hate because the film demands a mental surrender. It's bewildering, unapologetic, and a work of true genius. It's the one film that I can't seem to stop talking about.
After seeing it three times and still not quite understanding everything about it, I can safely say that "Upstream Color" is the most original film in years and far above everything else made in 2013.


Honorable Mentions:
Frances Ha—Funny, poignant, and featuring a delightful performance by Greta Gerwig.
The Bling Ring—Sofia Coppola's commentary on adolescence and materialism.

Best Movies Seen in 2013

















I have seen a lot of movies in 2013. Most of them, in fact, were not made this year. I didn't go out to the theater to spend ten bucks on a movie that I didn't want to see. So I stayed in mostly, and watched a whole lot of great movies. Working my way through "The Best" lists is harder than you image, because I now have to pick "the best" of the best.
I soon realized that it would be impossible to to a "Top 10" because I would have to make so many honorable mentions, they would far outnumber the actual list. So I made a "Top 30"....because I can.
I have my criteria—it has to be viewed for the FIRST time, this year. This excludes many re-watches and movies that would certainly land on this list like "Inception", "The Beaver", or "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".
Without further hesitation, these are the best movies that I've seen for the first time this year. I'm excluding, of course, the films from 2013. That is another list entirely.


30. Man on Wire—2008
One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Thrilling and evocative.

29. War Witch—2012
A movie about adulthood coming too soon, heartache, and survival.

28. Modern Times—1936
Charlie Chaplin's not-quite-silent masterpiece.

27. Clean, Shaven—1993
Perhaps the best movie that portrays the mind of a insane character.

26. Fahrenheit 9/11—2004
Michael Moore's controversial documentary. Perhaps biased, but undeniably powerful.

25. La Jetée—1962
This film is mind-blowing...in all the right ways. Shot in still photographs, this black-and-white short film is a staggering milestone in cinema.

24. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans—1927
Marriage, love, and life. This first Best Picture winner is terrific.

23. Martha Marcy May Marlene—2011
Elizabeth Olsen is stunning in this movie about being taken captive by an idea.

22. The House Is Black—1963
Another short film on this list—a documentary about a leper colony. Painful and full of love.

21. Meshes of the Afternoon—1943
The last short film on the list...a beautifully rendered dream movie that would certainly inspire and haunt filmmakers for years to come.

20. Shattered Glass—2003
This is an odd title to see here; but I found "Shattered Glass" an incredibly exciting and well-made movie.

19. I Killed My Mother—2009
Xavier Dolan's amazing film debut. Concerning mother and child, he crafts an emotional piece of art.

18. Harold and Maude—1971
A reinvention of romance. A sweet film. A funny film.

17. Bonnie and Clyde—1967
Dangerous duo, odd couple, beautiful film.

16. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—2007
Movie making at its finest. This film is ingenious, dazzling, and moving.

15. All The King's Men—1949
A movie about political corruption way ahead of its time.

14. The Blair Witch Project—1999
An influential piece that proved movies didn't need huge budgets to be incredible. One of the most successful films ever made...and it's scary

13. Jackie Brown—1997
One of Tarantino's finest.

12. The White Ribbon—2009
Michael Haneke's portrait of a village, plagued by torment and twisted philosophies.

11. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford—2007
A task to say, but a privilege to watch. Holding up under scrutiny, the movie maintains a dream-like feeling that somehow goes hand-in-hand with the western material.

10. Funny Games—1997
Michael Haneke again with this frustratingly complex home-invasion/horror flick. It's intense and mind-bending. Not for the faint of heart.

9. Requiem for a Dream—2000
It's the quintessential movie about drugs and what a dozy this is! Powerful from the opening frame. Hard to watch, but essential.

8. The Passion of the Christ—2004
Mel Gibson can make an epic movie—this is no exception. Taking the story of Christ and making it as gut-wrenching and emotional as possible, Gibson has redefined passion.

7. sex, lies, and videotape—1989
Soderbergh's Pamle d'Or winner. This movie is reason enough for him not to retire. A study of humanity, a study of love.

6. The Celebration—1998
A messed-up family. A disturbing plot. A magnificent achievement.

5. The Impossible—2012
The story of a family's survival against a deadly tsunami. Emotional, graphic, and filled with amazing performances

4. Brazil—1985
Terry Gilliam's Owellian vision of society. Hilarious, disturbing, and boldly visual.

3. Z—1969
A movie about government and a movie about the people.

2. Apocalypse Now1979
Francis Ford Coppola's take on the Vietnam war. Hallucinatory, visceral, and stunning.

1. The Thin Red Line—1998
Please don't read my review. I don't like it. Just know that this is the best war movie ever made and lands in my top ten favorites list. A beautiful and haunting vision of war, brought to film by the poetic Terrence Malick


Honorable Mentions:
Breathless—1960
Full Metal Jacket—1987
Shoah—1985
This is Spinal Tap—1984
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—1966

The King of Comedy (1982)
















Don't let the title fool you. Don't let the quick one-liners and the general star power fool you. Don't let the outlandish plot fool you. There is nothing funny about Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" and there's not supposed to be. It's amazing that the gangster director could pull such a picture out of his pocket. To put this is perspective, Scorsese had yet to make "Goodfells" and "Casino" so the pictures most associated with him were a decade away from being created. What he had made already was "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull", which was the picture that came right before "The King of Comedy".
Switching from "Raging Bull" to this movie is like getting punched in the jaw. Scorsese's style is still there, probably seen best the way the opening credits randomly freeze a scene while a jazzy song plays in the background.
Rupert Pupkin (yes, everyone mispronounces or misspells it), is a stand-up comic wannabe. He doesn't want to start at the bottom like everyone else—he just wants to be famous without doing all the work and I think that most of us can sympathize with him.
He has dreams of grandeur, he has dreams of Jerry Langford. This late night talk-show host, modeled after Johnny Carson no doubt, is a funny man. Langford got a break into the business when he guest-hosted a show, now he's incredibly famous.
While leaving from his regular show, Langford is bombarded with crazy fans and doting idolizers. They just want to have a conversation with him, want his autograph, or want to touch his shirt.
One of these people is Rupert Pupkin. As Jerry exits and makes his way to his car, he is stopped by a crazy lady inside the vehicle, wanting a small piece of Jerry. Rupert pushes the crowd away and gets Jerry into his car, minus the lady, and quickly steps in after him.
Once inside, he asks Jerry for a break, a chance. Jerry tells him to call his secretary and set up a meeting.
Immediately, we are taken into Rupert's mind. On his quest to become famous, he will stop at nothing, and we start to realize how un-funny Rupert's life is.
Scorsese likes movies that make us think, he likes movies that can inspire, but he really likes movies about fractured people. We see it in "Raging Bull" a movie that I didn't like, because of how despicable the main character was. We see it in "Taxi Driver", which is pretty much one of the grittiest Scorsese films. We can also see it in "The Aviator" and here I think is the film with the greatest similarity to "The King of Comedy".
"The Aviator" is about a man who is crazy, and "The King of Comedy" could just as well be about the same thing. The script for the movie comes from Paul D. Zimmerman, whose writing credentials are impressively short.
In all honesty, this movie is a masterpiece; but one that I couldn't fully engage with. I wasn't completely with the characters the entire time; but that could be my fault and not the film's.
The films dances between laughter and weeping many, many times. It lives for the awkward moments, the tense scenes—Scorsese's most famous example of these scenes being the "why is so funny about my laugh?" scene from "Goodfellas".
What James Stewart was to Hitchcock, Robert De Niro is to Scorsese. He is very stunning in this movie. In fact, all the performances in the film are keen and precise.
Feeling like a dream, the movie's ending brings thoughts of "Network" to mind. The film could be making a statement on our pop culture...it probably is...but more interesting is the vortex of madness on screen that you didn't even realize was present until the final scenes of the film have long since passed.
"The King of Comedy" is glorious insanity.








Score: ★★★½

Europa Report (2013) (PG-13)
















What is it about deep space that can be so terrifying? Is it the emptiness of space, as best seen in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey?"? Or is it the possibilities that can crash down around you, brought to explosive fruition by the more recent space thriller "Gravity"? It comes down to the fear of the unknown, which is the basis for almost all scares in horror movies. Except this unknown fear is acknowledged by all the characters in "Europa Report"—they realize that they might stumble across the unknown...in fact, they plan on it; they hope for it.
It's easy to forget a movie like "Europa Report" in a year such as this. When big name directors are releasing their newest project and big casts fill up the screen with phony movies—*cough* "American Hustle" *cough*—a film such as this one can get left behind and forgotten completely...which is precisely what has happened.
Filmed in a very appealing and effective documentary style, "Europa Report" brings 'archival footage' of the lost spaceship Europe One. This space craft lost contact with Earth month into their voyage after their ship was damaged.
Europe One was sent into space to Europa, one of Jupiter's moon, to see if there was life present. The data all implied that there was water beneath the massive ice formations that built up on Europa's surface...it's up to a team of six to try to find life on this distant moon.
Knowing that they are heading out on a fool's mission, the team spends two years aboard the ship, traveling towards the planet.
What they actually find there may change humanity forever.
"Europa Report" is a perfect example of people utilizing their materials to the best of their abilities. Everything in the movie screams out "low-budget". Knowing that they would not be able to compete with blockbusters, the filmmakers and screenwriter Philip Gelatt chose to make the film in a documentary style.
The result of this is a very well-done "Big Brother" episode in space. We see the day to day activities of the crew. To be fair, most of the two years is edited out and unnecessary—we only see the interesting moments.
When you consider how much dead time these six people had to face while traveling towards Jupiter's moon, it makes everything a little less intense. But the scenes are quite entertaining. For little camera movement and no real spectacular cinematic feats, "Europa Report" manages to not feel contrived or phony.
Yet there are problems with the movie: it over-indulges in its documentary style sometimes...leaving us thinking that these are actors and not people. The movie also doesn't have the most satisfying ending. The final scenes compromise any deeper meaning that film was working towards.
Still, it is an enjoyable film, and quite astonishing in its own right, considering on how well they make their style of picture work.
"Europa Report" was directed by Sebastián Cordero, a director whose work seems to constantly go unappreciated. This could be his biggest hit, we'll just have to see. 
I think the best way I can describe "Europa Report" is "The Blair Witch Project" meets "Alien". There are moments in the film that have staggering issues, but on the whole, why shouldn't this movie be seen an appreciated.
The poignancy of the film is paper-thin and the two comparative acting "veterans" of the cast—Sharlto Copley and Michael Nyqvist—do the worst acting jobs in the entire movie.
So the film has a few problems...yes; but does that ruin it? No.
"Europa Report" is a very safe movie, but its safety paid off because it is quite enjoyable.







Score: ★★★

Vertigo (1958)


It's hard to get all the accolades that "Vertigo" has built up over the years out of your head when you start to watch the movie. Though it was only nominated for a measly two Oscars, the revere with which the film is held is daunting to say the least. 
Sights and Sounds recently bumped "Citizen Kane" out of the heralded "best movie of all time" place and inserted "Vertigo" where it was. The film also landed in Roger Ebert's top 10 films and is generally considered to be Hitchcock's undying masterpiece.
For what reason?
"Vertigo" tells a riveting story and it tells it in such a way that it can be brand new to any viewer. The crazy, hallucinatory effects have long since become archaic, but the gist of the film remains powerful.
Out chasing down a criminal one night, a policeman and a detective follow the suspect onto rooftops where he tries to make a getaway. He bounds across a large gap and scrambles to safety, so does the policeman, but the detective slides down the roof and saves himself from plummeting to his death by gripping the gutter with fingertips. When the policeman returns to help him back up, he trips and is sent sailing through the air to his demise.
Now, months later, the detective, John Ferguson (James Stewart), is still haunted by the death of his colleague. He suffers from acrophobia which in turn gives him unhelpful spells of uncontrollable vertigo. 
He decides that once he's fit to return to detective duties, he will take some time off. He doesn't plan on returning to work anytime soon...that is, until he hears from an old friend of his, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore). Gavin is in a rut, mainly because he thinks his wife is possessed by an old spirit. 
What?
Yes, Gavin tells John of his wife and her common lapses of consciousness. She will zone out, go out driving, and become catatonic to the whole world. He is convinced that something is wrong in her brain, but he wants to know more before he sends her to a sanitarium. Naturally, he thinks that any friend will help a friend out by spying on a woman possessed by a ghost...naturally.
John rejects the idea very strongly, but has nothing better to do with his time so it doesn't take long speeches for him to agree to tail the wife. What he turns up is a woman caught with the past, obsession, and just plain insanity.
Perhaps the biggest achievement that "Vertigo" can claim as its own is the feeling of falling. For the entire movie, you feel slightly uneasy, like you are falling through the air—unaware of it until you pick up speed. Near the end of the movie it's a breakneck speed with which you careen towards the ground...and yes, you do hit the bottom...hard.
Still, when you go into a film hearing that it's the best movie ever made, you do turn yourself off to the idea. Certainly you've seen something better than this—at least, that's how my mind works. So when going into "Vertigo" I would suggest viewing it, instead, like any other Hitchcock movie, with glee and a little smidgen of hesitation.
"Vertigo" is unafraid of long shots. It's one of Hitchcock's longer movies; but this is what makes it great. John follows the wife around San Francisco, getting to see her routines and her madness for himself. There are shots of him in his car, staying close behind her...for much of the first part of "Vertigo", this is the movie. 
Yet there is something intrinsically fascinating about watching James Stewart follow Kim Novak around. It's this idea of stalking that Christopher Nolan would later tap into for his film "Following" which attempts to define why we people-watch. 
Instead of the story maneuvering from one plot device to the next, "Vertigo" embraces the dream-like way a film can be shot. It's a very abrupt movie and very self-assure.
Do I think it's the best movie ever made? No. But it is one powerful film.
You feel like you're walking down a flight of stairs as you watch "Vertigo", ever descending into the depths of the mind.








Score: ★★★★

The Battle of Algiers (1966)



















"The Battle of Algiers" is a movie about war, rebellion, and repression. It tells the story of Algeria's move towards independence, the riots that ensued because of this move, and France's opposition to the cries for independence.
Told in a flashback, "The Battle of Algiers" is probably the least war-like war film I've ever seen. The movie itself has so many layers—revenge, racism, and intolerance.
Banned in France after its release "The Battle of Algiers" would inspire filmmakers for years after its release. Most notably the action sequences can been likened to the ending scenes from "Saving Private Ryan" or some of the moments from "Band of Brothers".
As the 1950s start off, a revolution is brewing in the minds of some of the people in Algeria. The main character of the movie, a young man named Ali La Pointe, is a renegade who doesn't want to conform to any rules. He stays on the streets and plays gambling games. While running from the police, he is tripped by the white French teenagers that get their kicks making him suffer. So he does what anyone would do....he gives one of them a good punch to the face and then gets carted away to the police station.
In prison he witness the execution of a fellow Muslim who praises Allah right until his head is cut from his body. Something in him is stirred.
He decides that he's going to join an underground rebellion group...so he does. They test him first, telling him that he's supposed to kill a policeman; but things don't go exactly as he thought they would. He soon proves his allegiance to this rebellious group, who call themselves FLN.
Soon the military becomes involved and the few actions of killing policemen are turned into street bombings and gunning down pedestrians.
Enter the ruthless Colonel Mathieu who sees it as his responsibility to eradicate every last member of the FLN before moving through Algeria and pacifying the rebellions completely.
The FLN and the military butt heads, the rebellion is so well-put together that many people of the rebellion couldn't tell who the leader is. They are efficient and merciless. They rely on any help they can get, sometimes letting women carry bombs to public places in handbags and baskets, blowing up hundreds of innocents...just casualties of war.
To rid themselves of "the impurities of humanity" the streets are purged of drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.
One of the most eerie scenes has children making fun of a drunk on the streets. He tries to get away from them but more children keep coming towards him, beating him with their fists and dragging him down the stairs...it's horrifying.
This scene is later reversed with adults ganging up on a little child, the meaning changes because the mood has become more depressing and more disturbing.
The political impact of "The Battle of Algiers" has faded since its release because many will not know about the story. The emotional impact lives on through the film and the films that would come later on.
It's a mesmerizing look at how desperate times do indeed lead to desperate measures.







Score: 4 out of 4 stars

The Big Sleep (1946)





















"The Big Sleep" has a lot in common with 1944's "To Have and Have Not". It has the same director, the same two stars, both movies were based on novels, and William Faulkner had a hand in bringing the books to screen. What does this mean? It means that throughout the entire film, I was making comparisons between the two films, which shouldn't have happened.
They are both stand alone movies and should be viewed as such....anyways.
Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is a private investigator and he needs to find a little bird statue worth a lot of money....er...wait, that's something else entirely. No, Marlowe has been hired by General Sternwood to try to hunt down the man who has been blackmailing the General's daughter. If the blackmailer happens to get dropped on his head a few times, oh well, that's not too bad.
Marlowe is a Sam Spade and James Bond type character. He's uber-smooth and he's not afraid to bruise his knuckles to get a point across. Ever the ladies' man, he barely needs to be in a room with a woman without them throwing themselves at him...he's not complaining.
In his effort to find this blackmailer, he has to find an antique bookshop, act like a book-worm, drink some brandy, and smoke a whole lot of cigarettes.
He becomes interested with the General's other daughter, Vivian (Lauren Bacall) and her missing husband. Something is amiss in the state of Denmark.
"The Big Sleep" is a noir, crime, mystery, suspense piece. Parts of it are glorious fun and others remind us that Bogart and Bacall have made better movies together.
Too many characters flood the screen. By the time we get to a brother's wife's nephew's cousin's next door neighbor, we have flown through way too many people in way too short of a time to make me care about anything. Then again, I could have just not been paying attention...I'll give you that, but I doubt that's the reason.
Shot in a great-looking black and white, "The Big Sleep" is also inferior to "The Big Heat"—the two pictures sharing a lot more than just the closeness of their titles.
It's a shame that everything in "The Big Sleep" can be referenced to greater works, because it just makes the film look bad.
This film isn't bad. It's not great cinema, but it certainly isn't bad.
I will say this—the film is manipulative. It takes quick turns and fast edits imply a long passage of time has occurred. Time is something that the film doesn't have a great hold on. How long has it been? Hours? Weeks? Days?
Based on the novel of the same name by Raymond Chandler "The Big Sleep" seems like a movie that didn't quite do its source material justice. I was reminded of the works by John le Carré...once you get to the interesting parts of his novels, you forget why you're here.
This is a work that merited being split up into two movies.
Bogart looks sickly in the movie, like maybe he should lay off the brandies and cigarettes—Bacall also sings, which is a shame because her operatic voice leaves a lot to be desired. She fortes when she should have pianissimo-ed...oh so punny.
"The Big Sleep" is fun because of the banter between the two stars. It could be William Faulkner to credit for this. This and "To Have and Have Not" are both miles more entertaining than As I Lay Dying no matter what my English professor would have tried to tell you.








Score: 3 out of 4 stars

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) (PG-13)




















This is a guest review by Alan Jones

Everyone enjoys talking about themselves. In the same way movie makers love making movies about making movies. What more could a movie maker ask for except, "based on a true story". To sweeten the pot all you need is some feel-good, down-home,  Disney magic. My expectation of "Saving Mr. Banks", was another formulaic feature with all the requisite ups, downs and tissue worthy moments. I was not disappointed in this regard. 

However this movie did surprise me with a depth and style that exceeded my expectations. Disney had something to lose by making this movie. They could tarnish one of the most cherished movies of all time. Disney also had something to prove with this movie and that point alone is the triumph of this story. 

Which is greater, the creator or the created? When does the created leave the identify of the creator behind and become something that exists in the imagination of countless people. This is the question "Saving Mr. Banks" asks and answers with gratifying results. The entire structure of the telling of this story comes off with a genuineness that is not typical of your usual Disney fare. Part one of this success has to do with the quality of the acting. Tom Hanks plays the role of Walt Disney well without overdoing or sugar coating the role. Emma Thompson makes the movie with her portrayal of the difficult and complex P. L. Travers. It has earned her a well deserved Golden Globe nomination and I hope an Oscar nomination as well.  

We have all heard of the tortured soul of the artist. This is not something we normally associate with Walt Disney. The conflict of Disney and Travers makes a worthy story and a compelling movie. The first part of the movie dwells too long on the difficulty of the story of Travers' early life. There is also the predictable head long rush to the happy Disney ending. Despite these minor flaws, there is more food for thought, more conflict, and more satisfaction in the resolution than I expected. 

This is a movie that tells a great story, a story worth telling and is well worth the time. 








Four out of four stars.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)





















A movie for kids that was a labor of love. "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" was a Japanese film that took four years to film and even longer to become westernized. It was revamped, re-edited, and re-narrated before it was released all western audiences.
Punctuated with a classical soundtrack, the film follows to doings of two young animals—a cat and a dog, named Milo and Otis.
At the movie's opening, Milo, the cat and the more adventurous of the two, gets into all sorts of trouble. He steps on the chickens, falls into the river, picks on baby birds, annoys a crab, and forgets to baby-sit an egg. Otis has to clean up all his messes.
Then one day, while the two are out seeking thrills, Milo falls into a wooden box on the river and drifts far, far away. In an effort to save him, Otis runs after the box and becomes lost in the woods.
The rest of the movie is the loss of innocence for the two young characters and their following adventures. They encounter owls, deer, bears, foxes, and turtles.
In the western version, Dudley Moore narrates—he is the perfect choice for narrator and brings a friendly humor to the movie.
As much as the movie is made for kids, it is equally entertaining for adults. For just watching cats and dogs walk around for an hour plus, the film has a very narrative plot, one that rarely side-tracks.
It's not a perfect movie...that much seems obvious. The movie delves into dreams, fractured realities, and odd concepts as seen through the eyes of young children.
This movie must have been such a pain to film.
Post-release, many allegations were made against the movie because people thought the film was cruel to animals. But those rumors have died away, it seems that if there was animal cruelty involved, it wasn't "cruel" enough to make the film become banned—not saying that that makes it right.
Anyway, the film is cute...I think I've seen it probably fifty times since my children (I'm not sure if this is exaggeration).
The meaning does change when you get older.
Nostalgia runs deep in the movie.
I'm not quite sure how enjoyable the movie would be if no one had seen it before. But I'd seen it before, so I like it.
It's probably a movie that time will forget, but I'll always remember.







Score: 3 out of 4 stars

La Cage aux Folles (1978) (R)


















The movie based on the play that would later be reinvented with the American movie "The Birdcage", "La Cage aux Folles" is an unapologetic, transvestite-ish, gay, humorous, satirical piece of cinema that most everyone has forgotten about.
Everything about its premise was completely brand new to the pop culture world. The tag line for the film read: the comedy that comes out of the closet! In comparison with the tagline from the American: Come as you are..."La Cage aux Folles" is still way ahead of its time.
Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi) owns a night club: La Cage aux Folles, which I'm assuming probably translates to 'the birdcage'...see? Sometimes I don't even need to use Google. This night club's entertainment is provided by men dressed up as women; but don't tell Phil Robertson, because he probably doesn't know (I feel like that was a cheap shot, but hey...too bad).
The star of the show is a man named Albin (Michel Serrault) who also dresses in drag. He's a temperamental man, personifying all the stereotypical moodiness of a emotionally disturbed woman—he is the "wife" of the two men. He gets mad because Renalto didn't notice when he dieted, then he gets made because Renalto is trying to rush him...he gets emotional a lot.
Albin is a diva, but in the best possible way. The film lets him have his tantrums while gently stating that he may be over-reacting.
Renalto's son Laurent (Rémi Laurent) returns home and announces that he's getting married–there is nothing that Albin or Renalto can do about it. 
So the two have no choice but to concede that their little boy is getting married. But there's a problem: the girl's parents are extremely conservative and right in the middle of a scandal. To save face, they think that marrying off their little girl to a "nice white family", the scandal will be forgotten and everyone can move on with their lives.
Let's just say that they don't know about Albin, the cross-dressing, or La Cage aux Folles.
So they set off to meet this nice family leaving Renalto and Laurent little time to scramble so they can "fix" their non-typical home.
Having first seen "The Birdcage", it's hard to get Robin Williams and Nathan Lane out of your head. Indeed, all the actors seem like the perfect fit, that is, until you see this film. Some moments work better in each film. Rémi Laurent is far better as the son than Dan Futterman. There are little moments from both films that you can stop and compare, but ultimately, it's "La Cage aux Folles" that you have to respect a little more. It doesn't hold back, it isn't shy, and it most certainly doesn't compromise its story while being funny—not that "The Birdcage" did that, this is just a little edgier.
"La Cage aux Folles" is desperate to destroy preconceived ideas that people have about drag clubs. Some of the men are straight, some of them are gay, some of them are funny, some are sad—they're people too.
Perhaps the best work to liken the film to is the more recent novel I Am Not Myself These Days. While I wasn't a huge fan of the book, it did continue the thought that people are people.
For being so lighthearted, there is a remarkably dark undertone to "La Cage aux Folles" and some images are metaphors for religious oppression, the banishment of masculinity, and denying your true self.
Renalto makes a speech to his son that gets forgotten in the mess of the events that happen later—he tells Laurent that he spent years of his life figuring out who he was and he wasn't going to flick that away for some conservative politician with hatred in his heart. Naturally, he does try to put on facade and disastrous things happen. So maybe it is better put as the tagline for "The Birdcage": Come as your are.
The two movies are both hilariously funny and full of tender, human moments. I place them as equals.









Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

Oldboy (2013) (R)
















This is a guest review by KJ Craig.

Seeing as this movie is a remake this review shall be in two parts: The movie as it stands alone, and its comparison to the original. This review may contain spoilers! And bear with me: It’s my first review.

It’s 1993 and Joe Doucett is a total scumbag. That’s what the first part of the film is trying to show you. Alcoholic. Lousy father that’s constantly fighting with his ex-wife. Not a bad business man… Until his scummy-ness ruins that too. At the end of day it begins to hit Joe what a terrible person he is and he continues trying to numb it out with vodka. He’s banging on the doors of his best friend’s bar when suddenly a stereotypical Asian skank pops out of the blue. 

The next thing we see is Joe waking up in what is believed to be a hotel room set up with a nice bathroom and television along with 3 square meals of dumplings and vodka a day. He quickly realizes he can’t get out which is followed by screaming and pouting [But you can’t help but laugh at him because he’s such a jerk]. Days later, Joe watches the TV in horror to see that his ex-wife was raped and killed… His very own DNA found at the scene and his daughter, Mia, left orphaned. He’s much more concerned with the orphaned daughter part. 

A television series called “Unsolved Mysteries of Crime”, which supposedly is about Joe and his disappearance, follows his daughter as she grows up with her adopted parents. I suppose Joe was full enough of himself he found “his” crime to be the only one worthy of the show. Joe strives to be better for her, writing her letters daily. He stops drinking and begins working out like a mad man. Somehow with some 80’s Pilates and a couple of pillows he turned into a Red Bull athlete. Suddenly, 20 years after Joe’s capture, he’s released back into the world. He begins looking for Mia along with answers to why he’s been imprisoned. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I really enjoyed how the film was edited and put together. I thought it kept up its fast pacing without leaving out necessary details. The dialogue wasn’t anything special but it got the point across. Samuel L. Jackson, who seems to be in everything these days, was a comic relief to the intensity of the film… However, I think there was too much laughter had. It took away from the dangerous situations Joe was put into. Part of the fun I have with films like this is feeling that intensity along with the characters, but the director didn’t allow this with all the comedy mixed in.

Alright, now onto the part I really wanted to do: The comparison. Critics have been saying the remake was unnecessary. I do agree with that, due to the fact I only think remakes are a grand idea if a great concept was butchered by a director [like Evil Dead… the remake stunk but I can’t blame them for trying] OR if film making has advanced so much the film would be massively improved [like King Kong, even if we don’t talk about that thing from the 80’s]. Oldboy falls into neither category. However, without a better way to say it, this film was much more American than the original: More action, more comedy, and the fact that all Asians are dressed up in costumes you would find displayed at your local Japanese steakhouse. 

Concepts seemed to make more sense, but I believe this could be a culture understanding more than mere different directing. The lack of ninja skill overlooked with comedic moments. The story was altered slightly to make this film more modern… Up until the very end. Things took a dramatically different turn and I prefer this ending with great muchness. Although references were made, I was saddened by the fact most of the shocking moments of the original were simply taken out. Yes, those moments were unnecessary, but they were also iconic and a huge part of what made the original so memorable. 

Overall: It’s not the best film ever, but I was thoroughly entertained and didn’t regret spending money on it. The movie wasn’t nearly as intense as the original, but flowed much more smoothly and was easier to understand with an ending that made much more sense.









3 out of 4 stars.


Note: Here is the link to my review of the original: Oldboy ~ Movie Micah

Now, Voyager (1942)




















"Independence! That's what I want to talk about."
"Now, Voyager" is a movie about self-discovery, one so beautiful craftes and stylishly executed that it's almost impossible not to get lost in the saga.
A daughter is held under the almost despotic rule of her mother, she longs for freedom. When the day finally arrives, it takes her several weeks to fully accept herself and be comfortable in her own skin.
At the movie's opening, Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis), is a quiet and self-conscious "old spinster". She has wasted away in her room for years, the only times she's had fun, it was curtailed by the ruling maternal force, played with an evil uncaring by Gladys Cooper.
Charlotte remembers a time on a ship when she and a young man had a small romance. It was interrupted by her mother who made her sorry she even stepped foot outside her cabin. Her mother controls everything about her life: what books she reads, what she wears, etc. She has no outlet for her pent up emotions which generate outbursts at night, manifested with sobbing sessions.
Charlotte needs to get away.
She meets a psychiatrist who helps her rid herself of the dreadful self-loathing and self-doubt. She becomes a woman of fine graces. How much more fitting it is that she truly rediscovers herself on a ship. She meets a mysterious man named Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid) while off on a vacation.
The two immediately have a connection, one that almost breaks off as soon as it forms due to Charlotte's nervous tics. Jerry is entranced by the hand-wringing beauty. He finds her fascinating and she enjoys the attention. Being wanted is not an unpleasant feeling.
But her journey isn't over yet and she'll have to overcome several more obstacles before it's all over.
First of all, Bette Davis is a revelation. The movie has her transform from a "old, fat spinster" to a woman still unsure of herself, but willing to try living her own life.
Between Davis and Henreid, you'll never quite find chemistry that matches this. It's so tender and wonderful, they must go down in film history as one of the best on-screen couples.
They are so good that every scene lacking one of the two seems to be missing something. Near the end of the film, everyone indulges in sugary-sweet cliches...and that's okay. It's a great movie, blending noir and heavy drama into a palatable film experience.
The film is very well-done, relying on no real exceptional camera moves nor fancy techniques. Instead, it focuses the lens on the actors and the splendid job they do bringing the script to life.
"Now, Voyager", which gains its titles from a Walt Whitman poem, is heartbreaking because of the swift road to self-discovery. We all know that the road is much bumpier than a Sandra-Bullock-esque makeover and a pair of new heels. Somehow Bette Davis realizes this too and puts it into her performance. She lets us feel the off-screen pain and anguish.
Her performance is such a rarity that sometimes we wish we could leap through the screen and be with her in the room.
The film isn't as sharp as some other movies, like the recently seen "The Thin Man" or as gritty as others such as "The Maltese Falcon". Still, it's a movie that many have not heard of and that's disappointing.
If there was ever a romance that I could require everyone to see, this might be it. It perfectly shows that not everything works out as planned.
Life can be cruel; but it can also be filed with incalculable and exquisite beauty.









Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) (PG-13)


















The second installment in "The Hunger Games" series, based on Suzanne Collins' book of the same named is much better than its predecessor...but then again, that's not saying a whole lot. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" picks up where the first one left off, not as seamlessly as Peter Jackson does it...in fact, not even close.
The beginning of the movie recycles the beginning of the first movie—Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) are out in a forest somewhere, hunting stuff. They come across a flock of turkeys—Katniss has a flashback to the hunger games, having a panic attack because she thinks she's just shot a kid.
Katniss is haunted by the memories of the games, which would be easier to empathize with if they had not been quite so bloodless. With this movie too, the violence is pacified to the point of being patronizing. Recent articles state that PG-13 movies have more gun violence than R rated flicks...yes, this is gun violence; but where was the action?
As I exited the theater I was trying to reflect on the movie and I actually found myself asking: "What actually happened in that movie". I think it's best summed up by "people vs. government". Except with this movie, it clearly spells out exactly what its characters are thinking about for the audience...lest we have to actually think. For instance there is actually a conversation in which two men say: "Hey, I think we'll try fear tactics now." Really? Of course I'm paraphrasing, but still...it's kind of insulting.
Anyways, Peeta, the other victor from the hunger games, and Katniss now have to play to the powers that be or else their loved ones will get killed. This, of course, is written off later because suddenly Katniss and Peeta are too famous...any murders will cause an uprising.
The government in question is a complete dictatorship, much like the world created in 1984 or any other dystopian society. Their subjects are a loyal and mindless people that now have an unwilling person to channel their feelings. Katniss doesn't want to be a leader, she just wants to go back home to her family and live a quite life where she can mope and cry in peace...but the government is unsatisfied with that. They demand the uprisings that have started to be silenced—they want Katniss to put on a facade, and she does...but for how long can she last?
I must say that I read Collins' trilogy and most definitely didn't like it. It was airy, moody, and a farce. It centered around a love triangle, masquerading itself as a work deeper than just that. But the resolution of everything involved is just so comically bad that it shames itself...obviously, I'm the only one who thinks this way.
So I didn't like "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" mainly because I didn't care for the source material. It's a book (and movie) that takes too long to become interesting and once it is, it ends abruptly, leaving you perplexed. But it's not a cliff hanger ending, no, that can be seen in the newest "Hobbit" movie...that's a cliff hanger—this is another animal altogether, not in a good way.
The bloodlessness of the movie is one problem, the story itself is another, but a big problem is the way the movie pieces together. Too many minutes are eaten up with pointless dialogue and meaningless scenes that do nothing but make us cringe at the awkwardness of being a teenager. Yes, I went through those years, why would I relive them?
Because we all know there are more movies to come, is there ever really any danger our main character is in? Perhaps, perhaps not.
This movie is better than "The Hunger Games", mainly because it would be hard to be worse than that film. The series changed directors and everyone seems pleased with Francis Lawrence as the new man (no relation to the leading lady).
The film looks pretty amazing. The CGI-effects are used sparingly and they always look sleek when they are used. The series doesn't fall into the "shaky-cam" cliche territory and I'm very thankful for that.
Still, on all fronts, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" could have been so much better.
It's too long, too moody, and too condescending.
If it's any consolation I really liked Stanley Tucci in this movie.







Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Jurassic Park III (2001) (PG-13)
















"Jurassic Park III" should have been an easy success. It builds on the solid foundation of Michael Crichton's brilliant premise and Steven Spielberg's incredible first movie in the series. Closing the trilogy (though perhaps not for too much longer, as another movie is currently in the making), "Jurassic Park III" brings back the character of Alan Grant.
Grant (Sam Neill, effortlessly awesome as always) has been biding his time, working with dead dinosaurs. He enjoys the fact that he works with the bones of the savage beasts—the dinosaurs he sees are long deceased...he's quite fine with that.
He will give lectures on raptors, which have become his area of expertise. More research has revealed that these smart killers may have been much more intelligent that originally thought. They could have had they own language and Grant hypothesizes that had they not died off, they could have become the dominant species on earth instead of humans.
But rather than actually listen to Grant's ideas, much more people are interested in his experiences on Isla Nublar (from the original film). One person asks him if he wouldn't rather return to the island and view dinosaurs living and breathing...study their habits instead of creating guesswork. Grant replies that no force on earth was strong enough to take him back to that island.
JUST KIDDING!
Enter the Kirby family, husband and wife, who are interested in sight-seeing on Site-B of the Jurassic Park adventure land—this new island is Isla Sorna. The Kirbys think that if they make a hefty contribution to Grant's study he'll be more than happy to be their guide as they fly low over the island...they have special permission from the powers that be for this vacation. In other words: they grant Grant a grant.
So apparently, Alan can be forced back to the island of dinos with just a little money. He is accompanied by his assistant Billy, an inquisitive young man who regrettably gets most of the terrible lines in "Jurassic Park III" and of those, there are many.
But the star that outshines the others as far as bad acting goes is the usually likable Téa Leoni as Mrs. Kirby.
Anyways, the party that flies over the island decides that they are going to land. Grant soon learns out that the Kirbys are looking for their son who went missing while vacationing next to the islands. He's been missing for eight weeks and they have conned Alan here with money that they don't have.
Now they have to survive on the island and try to find their son.
"Jurassic Park III" is filled with illogical decisions lined up nicely after each other like impossible dominoes. If you take the dinosaurs out of the movie, you are left with completely irrational decisions, terrible dialogue, and a premise that is paper thin at best. When you add the dinosaurs back in, you get an operatic odyssey in bad that somehow manages to feel entertaining when it's all over.
If we listed all of the movie's sins, we'd be here for quite a while. There is no period for mourning for dead souls, there is no listening to the sage advice that never ceases to flow from Alan Grant's mouth, there is no reason for why people suddenly become selfish, courageous, or cowardly, and there is absolutely no reason that a dinosaur who breaks through metal barricade can't knock down a flimsy door to a...wait for it....glass building.
Yet there are good moments in the film as well, a few surprises manage to be somewhat startling. Sam Neill is always fun to watch and he can deliver great one-liners like few others...even if those one-liners are borderline cringe inducing.
For a few moments Laura Dern reprises her role from the first movie, but her great talent is wasted with the terrible script. This is odd because the script was written by three writers, two of whom went on to receive Oscars for screenwriting! There should be no reason that movie has the terrible dialogue that it does.
Maybe we should blame the director, Joe Johnston, for ruining the movie. After all he also made "Captain America: The First Avenger", so he hasn't exactly evolved into a great filmmaker since his dino-days.
Still, the special effects aren't all bad—though they don't compare with the original.
There is romance where there should be none, drama where they should be action, and no dinosaurs where there should be more. freakin'. dinosaurs.
"Jurassic Park III" somehow forgets that the first movie wasn't a monster flick...it was a study about humanity. If they had stayed true to their roots, maybe the movie could have been a success; but they didn't, and it wasn't.








Score: 2 out of 4 stars

American Hustle (2013) (R)


















In her recent review of "American Hustle", film critic Christy Lemire said this: "David O. Russell out-Scorseses Martin Scorsese with "American Hustle," a '70s crime romp that's ridiculously entertaining in all the best ways."
Sure, the references to Martin Scorsese will come as a barrage to anyone who reads anything about this movie. That's because David O. Russell really tries to recreate Scorsese's effortless cool and composure while handling source material that becomes explosive.
Scorsese loves a good meltdown and in "American Hustle" we have several meltdowns...but none of them were good.
The movie drops us in while something important is happening. Naturally, we can't tell what that something is since we've only just met all the characters. So, after the scene is done, we go back and trace the steps that led to that moment.
We have a man named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bales), a con man. He's not exclusively a con man, he owns a few dry cleaning businesses and a glass shop (that is, a place that sells glass and not a shop made from glass...just clarifying). But his side business that's slowly becoming a full-time occupation is conning people out of money.
At a party he meets a girl named Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and he immediately falls for her. It could be her charm, her good looks, or her ever lacking of a bra; but the two make a connection.
So they flirt and spend and drink and sleep...all the time knowing that they can't be together.
Irving has a wife, a woman described as a passive-agressive warrior, Rosalyn, who is played by Jennifer Lawrence. Irving adopted Rosalyn's son as his own...he loves the boy and that's the only reason that the two still are together.
Sydney adopts an alter-ego that she names Lady Edith, a high class British snob with plenty of banking connections and with this character, she and Irving begin a conning marathon.
Then comes Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), the cute, naive FBI agent who dreams of making it big. Busting the two in action, DiMaso convinces them to help him nab four big names and then he'll let them go. So what can they do but agree?
As far as con movies go, "American Hustle" is neither surprising nor exciting. Any plot twist is foreseeable and any real drama is wasted underneath heavy layers of make-up and Jennifer Lawrence herself.
David O. Russell has proven himself a good director and has already made his pick in actors. The four big names (excluding Jeremy Renner as an idealistic mayor) he has worked with before in his movies "The Fighter" and last year's "Silver Linings Playbook". Both of these movies won acting Oscars: Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence (though I was, and still am, the only one who was puzzled by her win).
Yet with "American Hustle", the two actors that stand out are Louis C. K. as DiMaso's supervisor and Christian Bale.
Bale has been known to drop and gain a lot of weight for his roles and here he bloats out again as the suave con man with a terrible combover.
The first big problem with the movie that we notice is the script. To prove that it was set in the 70s, we get a constant bombardment of references to Nixon, Carter, the Watergate Affair, etc. etc. It feels like Russell's 2013 version of the 70s. It's not convincing in the least.
He does take cues from Scorsese, most notably the way he uses music to constantly add a backing to the scenes.
As much as "American Hustle" is paying homage to the con man movie, it is also stealing from many other directors whose movies were all better than this. Russell takes from a number of directors, including, but not limited to Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino, and  (obviously) Scorsese himself.
Apparently, I'm the only one who doesn't like "American Hustle"...but I'm fine with that.
There is no real peril to the film, the ending can be spotted an hour before it occurs, and the performances that many have raved as the best of the year are just...plain...stagey.
Jennifer Lawrence is the most obvious mess-pian. She is whiny and screamy and slutty...but, like Jessica Rabbit, she could just be drawn that way.
It's a very immature movie, one that takes its viewer by the hand and makes sure that they understand everything that's going on.
Everyone is shot in extreme close-up, yet the people who criticized Tom Hooper last year are singing David O. Russell's praises...I don't get it.
Amy Adams does a fine job, considering the lines she's given. In no way....whatsoever...is "American Hustle" a movie that recreates a time period, tells a compelling story, or even comes close to the grandeur of Scorsese. So on that, I disagree with Ms. Lemire.
Still the movie is well-made; but that's the same as saying: "they poured a lot of money down the garbage disposal". Sure, the movie looks great and sure some of the techniques used are fine; but when something about the story itself is faulty...the rest of the picture will follow suit.
"American Hustle" is bound for Oscar gold, probably getting loads of nominations and maybe even some statues. But I think of how I saw it in the theater, when the person next to me just stood up and left, huffing. Whatever their reason for leaving was, part of me wishes that I'd gone with them.








Score: 2 out of 4 stars

Blue Velvet (1986) (R)


















As you watch "Blue Velvet", you feel like you're missing a lot. Unless of course, you are a brilliant mind who can understand David Lynch's meaning behind the crawling bugs, the incessant fade-outs, the animalistic sounds that overlap the character's voices, the clear sexual violence, the cuts to candles flickering, and the S&M style of sexual experiences that constitute a "normal" relationship. If that's the case, congratulations!
If that's not the case, "Blue Velvet" is almost an exercise in frustration. What saves it from utter disaster is the fact that the story it tells is quite gripping and the way that it is filmed generates its own world.
"Blue Velvet" is a film about suburbia, fear, curiosity, and human nature—but most of all love. Yes, behind the odd huffing and puffing of Dennis Hopper (what the movie is most famous for), the rape scenes, the physical abuse, and the intertwining bedfellows; "Blue Velvet" is a movie about how good some people can be.
The movie begins observing neighbors in a...uh...neighborhood. They wave to each other, water the plants, and fall to the ground from some invisible malady. We see a man collapse, then we zoom in to the ground. Beneath the grass there are bugs that crawl around and music that plays eerily. Right from the first shot, Lynch is proving something: what is underneath is often more interesting that what is on the surface, it might also be more disturbing.
The people in the town of Lumbertown are a kindly folk. They act like they are right from a 50s sitcom or a commercial for houses. They are so nice and so pleasant...but beneath all that is a stinking, rotting evil.
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) has come home after his father suffered an attack of some kind. On his way to and from the hospital he discovers something in a field—a human ear. He is immediately struck with disgust and the most insatiable curiosity. He takes the ear to Detective Williams (George Dickerson) because...well, that's what anyone would do with an ear.
Then, he learns nothing more.
Wanting to know about the human part he found, Jeffrey goes to Detective Williams' house to ask him. Obviously, he can't tell Jeffrey anything about it so he sends him along his way.
But Williams has a daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), and she has overheard many conversations. She tells him that one of the suspects is a night-club singer who lives in an apartment...an apartment that Sandy knows the address for—convenient. Jeffrey and Sandy immediately connect in a cliche romantic sort of way, they laugh at each other, care for each other, and are too immature to admit that to the other one.
They track down the singer, a woman named Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini). This woman has a past that haunts Jeffrey. He is determined to find out where the ear came from—then he starts to become obsessed with this woman Dorothy and the way she sings the song "Blue Velvet"—hence the title. 
We meet a man named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who is just plain crazy...but enough about the movie.
There is something to "Blue Velvet" that makes it almost hypnotic. It's very easy to watch, and for being so smart, it's really not that demanding.
Lynch seems to be stating that, at the core, human nature is quite monstrous. This theory works well until the ending, which would shatter it to pieces.
The work that I was most reminded of what the more recent film "Drive". In both these cases, I find them illogical but nice to look at. 
"Blue Velvet" is a fine movie and I did enjoy it. The teenage romance bit felt contrived, the violence wasn't that surprising, and in the end what did it accomplish? Lynch makes films that study human nature...but to what end?
He made a mystery, but it wasn't a mystery. It was a romance-thriller-oddity flick.
The repeated line "Isn't life strange?" was the tagline for the film; but I think it's better put by Dorothy: "I'm not crazy. I know the difference between right and wrong". 
That fits the film much better.









Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4