Tuesday, March 23, 2010


what is this?  I think these are advertisements from a place not America.

And this?


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Limits of Control

 "He who thinks he is bigger than the rest must go to the cemetery. There he will see what life really is: a handful of dirt." (quote from the movie)

The Limits of Control (2009) - Written and Directed by Jim Jarmusch

The Limits of Control is "the story of a mysterious loner, a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged."  Actually, they are never divulged, at least not that I could tell.

I have been procrastinating on putting together the review of this movie because it was confusing and I left the movie not quite understanding what happened. This is not altogether unusual for Jim Jarmusch films but this seemed to go a bit farther; it seemed almost like a mix between a Jim Jarmusch film and a David Lynch film (e.g. Blue Velvet). Other Jarmusch-directed films include:

  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) – Fantastic movie and a great introduction to Forest Whitaker
  • Broken Flowers (2005) – slight confusion but easily dismissed by the performances of Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Jeffery Wright, and others.
  • Stranger than Paradise (1982)
  • Down by Law (1986)

I enjoyed the movie but don’t expect many others will I don’t mean that in a pretentious way but, instead, I simply mean to say that usually people dislike the movies that I enjoy.The film does have a lot of faults and it is slow.

The things I liked about The Limits of Control: 
  • One of the main characters was Spain! Spain performed fabulously and the movie showed the cities and the cafes and the country side and the train stations and let you absorb it.
  • The quiet contemplation gave the viewer time to take in what the main character was taking in even though I was never sure exactly what that was.
  • Entertaining cameos – Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, and others.
The thing I did not like about The Limits of Control:
  • The filmmaker’s seemingly purposeful lack of story

Monday, March 8, 2010

Smokin' Aces Informant

As mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend we watched two "bad" movies that Sandy picked out (he proclaimed he would be selecting "bad" movies for his birthday weekend).  He selected Couples Retreat and Smokin' Aces.

I am trying to quickly knit a baby blanket and was knitting while watching Smokin' Aces, so I wasn't giving the movie my full attention. Even so, I say don't bother watching it - not good.  Movie description, "A sleazy Las Vegas magician agrees to testify against the mob, he embarks on one last hurrah in Lake Tahoe before entering protective custody. But can just one FBI agent keep him safe from a slew of would-be assassins?"  Nothing special.

We did watch a movie this weekend that I have been wanting to see - The Informant. This is a movie based on a true story, directed by Steven Soderbergh, a director I love, and starring Matt Damon. Movie description:
While gathering evidence against his employer, ADM, to help the FBI build a price-fixing conspiracy case, wealthy, affable executive Mark Whitacre, begins to piece together a fantasy world of his own. Based on Kurt Eichenwald's acclaimed nonfiction book about a true-life Corporate America whistle-blower.
I was also knitting for this one but did absorb the hilarious absurdity.  This is a movie worth seeing.  To quote the Portland Oregonian:
It's a terrifically offhanded film, barely breaking a sweat in telling a largely-based-on-truth tale of corporate crime and punishment and personal delusion. And its got a deliciously audacious and cheeky tenor. Too often the movies paint situations such as Whitacre's as moral dilemmas unfolding in an air of sanctimony. "The Informant!" reminds us that scandals involve humans and humans can be pretty silly, most often of all, in fact, when they think they're being deadly serious.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rosemary's baby retreat for couples

We watched Rosemary's Baby this week.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar, this is an award winning movie directed by Roman Polanski, starring Mia Farrow and made in 1968.  Netflix puts the movie in these genres, "Horror Classics, Satanic Stories, Psychological Thrillers."

For the late sixties, this movie must have been somewhat risque but it was the same year that Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, The Graduate, and 2001: A Space Odyssey were released. I don't want to give away too much so I'll just provide the vague description provided on several web sites:
A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life.
Weird though it was, I enjoyed it.  The Hitchcockian suspense really kept my attention in what would otherwise be something of a slow movie.

One other movie we watched this week was Couples Retreat.  This is Sandy's birthday weekend and, since I normally control the Netflix queue and populate it with "depressing" movies (Sandy's opinion), he wanted to pick out and watch bad movies.  Couples Retreat was one of two he picked and it got horrible reviews.  Indeed, we went into this movie expecting very bad things, which was probably its saving grace.  We actually found ourselves giggling in several parts.  Part of the reason for our finding it mildly funny could also be because we are a long-time married couple. Maybe after a long week anything is funny...