After making a conscious effort recently to catch up on the Coen brothers movies I’d missed (Raising Arizona, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Barton Fink; I still need Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and Miller’s Crossing), I was of course pretty psyched for their latest: Burn After Reading. As much as I liked No Country for Old Men, I like it best when they’re doing comedy-thrillers with body counts. This had all of those things, and did a pretty good job combining everything. Hardbodies Gym employee Linda Litzke, desperate for cosmetic surgery funds, teams up with her coworker Chad and uses a personal disc found on the gym floor to blackmail former CIA agent Osborne Cox. There are various complications, misunderstandings, shouting matches, and acts of adultery. The plot is convoluted, but quite aware of this fact, as evidenced by the CIA’s confused recaps of everyone’s doings. My main concern is that there are too many characters. It’s not that there are wasted characters or anything, but I felt like I didn’t fully get to know most of the people who were there. Less characters would have meant more development for the ones left. However, this detail doesn’t take away much from the jokes and good times and guns and poorly-thought-out schemes.
Basically, between Brad Pitt dancing like no one’s watching, John Malkovich marching around in a bathrobe with a hatchet, George Clooney building secret devices, Frances McDormand plotting against America, and Tilda Swinton’s hair style, this movie has pretty much all the things a person needs. Remember that it’s a Coen brothers movie so people will die, and you’ll be ok! Definitely check it out for some hilarious and exciting times!
All right I’m trying to get through some Netflix movies, because guess what: I have 457 movies/tv show discs in my queue (not including 25 saved). So last week after an exhausting day and lengthy trip between my school and the Museum School for an also-lengthy drawing class, I collapsed into bed with some fried rice and no intention of doing anything other than relaxing. Popping in Kinky Boots to top off the evening turned out to be a good idea!
The film tells the story of Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton), whose shoemaker father ran an independent shoe factory in rural, small-town Northampton, England. After his death, Charlie is forced to take over the business, despite his recent marriage, job in advertising, and move to London. With the factory on the brink of financial collapse, he’s starved for ideas to reinvigorate it. After running into drag queen and club singer Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and learning of his profession’s perpetual snag of women’s stilettos’ weakness under a man’s weight, Charlie decides to corner this niche market and design women’s boots for men. Lola goes to Northampton to provide the designs and help in the production, both scaring and befriending various townspeople and factory workers. His lifestyle makes most people (including, to some extent, Charlie) uncomfortable, but he braves the stares for the sake of creativity, small businesses, clueless factory managers, and men seeking fashionable high-heeled boots everywhere. There’s some romantic stuff in there, too.
This movie rode the line between comedy and drama pretty hard, though leaning slightly more to the lighter side. I was ok with this, not expecting any kind of gut-buster or tear-jerker. I cared about the characters and really liked the story. A good amount of tension was built up to the final fashion show in Milan, keeping my interest throughout. I dug Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance, especially his interactions with Charlie and the homophobic factory worker Don (Nick Frost). The film isn’t exactly breaking any barriers for gay rights but it presents an engaging cross-cultural relationship and throws in some fashion and musical sequences. Enough to keep anyone happy!
Note: Excitement! According to the film’s Wikipedia page, “A Broadway musical version of the film is currently in the works, with producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig and helming the project.” Eep! Musicals!
Well, it’s that time of year again! This Thursday was the customary day for getting drunk and watching Smokey and the Bandit with friends, an activity of which I partook for the first time ever. As always, this movie did not disappoint and did not provoke anything except a rollickin’ good time.
A filthy rich, matching-suited father and son approach the dozing Bandit (Burt Reynolds) with a daring proposition: drive to Texarcana, Texas, fetch 400 cases of Coors beer and transport it over county lines to Atlanta, Georgia, all in 28 hours. This is what’s known in 1977 as bootlegging, due to antiquated laws. The Bandit accepts this $80,000 bet and enlists his old truckin’ buddy Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed, who also did several songs for the soundtrack). Snowman drives the truck with the beer, while Bandit drives a black Pontiac Trans-Am at high speed to distract any cops away from the speeding truck. Enter Carrie aka “Frog” (Sally Field), a runaway bride fleeing a “wedding posse”, who hops in with The Bandit and both helps and hinders his scheme. Enter moments later Buford T Justice (Jackie Gleason), a Texas sheriff who goes way out of his jurisdiction to take down that elusive, smart alecky daredevil.
That is pretty much the entire plot, a fairly simple premise formatted to show off some high-speed, high-flying car stunts, slip in some wiseass dialogue, reflect on relationships forged out of necessity/fate in a thrilling situation, and, of course, have hilarious hi-jinks! There are some good shots of Sally Field’s butt (or possible butt-double), several occasions of Burt Reynolds’ high-pitched laughter, seriously amazing (and destructive!) stunts, and lots of smooth truckin’ lingo. It is a carefree, fast-paced time that’s always lots of fun! Watching it drunkenly with a group of friends just makes it funner!
“East Bound and Down“- Jerry Reed (Smokey and the Bandit theme song)