Funny, astonishing, suspenseful. . . Wild Tales.
No sooner is Run All Night opening, that the posters are turning up:
Rather than a flight of imagination, a philosophical and magical-realism clunker big enough to fuel dozens of film studies thesis for years to come.
Read my review at Da Tech Guy Blog.
Back in my much younger and stupider days, I had to finish every book I started. Then I wised up and realized life’s too short to waste on crap. All along, I’ve been a compulsive omnivorous reader.
So when my sister came to visit raving about 50 Shades (which she picked up at the airport, after realizing she hadn’t packed her Kindle), I thought I should take a look.
Opening sentence: “I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.”
50(!) pages later, when pervy Mr. Grey hands the idiot girl a binding contract (all puns intended), I had enough of the crappy plot – if you want to call that a plot – and the execrable writing and returned the book to my sister, who by then was working her way through the second volume.
OF COURSE, 50 Shades is a huge hit and they made a movie out of it. The previews hit theaters six months ago.
The movie opens on Valentine’s Day. I truly can not understand why anyone would want to watch that on Valentine’s Day, of all times, but then bondage’s not my idea of a good time, let alone romance.
Last week I was feeding my addiction to British murder mysteries as I watched The Fall, wondering where I had seen the guy before, something that happens often since British actors constantly pop up on murder mysteries: IMDB,
So he’s Mr. Grey.
I wonder if he got that part from having played the creep in The Fall.
To get an whiff of the full 50 Shades aroma you must read Katrina Passick‘s review:
Now I’ll be totally honest, the biggest issue I have with Fifty Shades of Shit is neither the sex nor the horrible writing. It’s the plot. Thin as it is, it’s still there, its core message being that, given enough time, you can change someone. While I don’t have any problem with this if all you’re trying to do is help them to lose weight or quit smoking, when you’re talking about an emotionally and (dangerously close to) physically abusive relationship, sending that kind of message is ridiculous and irresponsible. Christian is controlling, possessive, condescending, and cruel. He doesn’t allow Ana to behave as she normally would, and Ana just puts up with it, insistent that if she can give him what he wants, when he wants, as often as he wants, she can eventually begin to pull his strings. Will it work? In the books, probably. In real life? No. Almost never. How many misguided women are going to waste their lives on some emotionally retarded prick because they’ve read shit like this and think this kind of fucked-up fairytale will come true for them? I’ve known women with this mentality. “Oh, he’s so dark and dangerous and threatening, but he’s got a sad, lonely side, and if I could just figure out what’s wrong, I could change him!”
Two restraining orders later, the lucky ones may figure out guys like that will never change – the others get a nice funeral, if any. My initial reaction from the book was, “Grey gets carried away, the girl’s dead, he dumps her on Puget Sound from his helicopter, end of story.”
As you can see from the links above, I’m not above making a buck, so if you still want to join the buyers of the 100 million copies, knock yourself out and please buy through my links.
Blogging on more serious matters shall continue shortly.
Oh! And I almost forgot –
Since I didn’t read the book I didn’t know that E.L. James crapped all over Tallis by using his masterpiece Spem In Alium (THE masterpiece of choral music) as Grey’s background music of choice for inflicting pain on sick idiots.
**ck James and the beaten-up horse she rode in on.
The Showtime Family cable channel is playing Schultze gets the blues, a delightful movie I reviewed nearly nine years ago>. Here’s my review,
Minimalism comes to life in Schultze gets the blues.
The story starts when Schultze and his two friends Manfred and Jürgen are pushed into early retirement from the salt mines and receive salt lamps as retirement gifts. Schultze spends his retirement days playing the polka on his accordion, gardening (and polishing his garden gnomes), watching his friends fight over chess, riding his bicycle to get around, visiting his mother at the nursing home, and enjoying a beer or two. At the nursing home he meets whiskey-drinking Frau Lorant, who wants him to take her to the casino.
Then he listens to a Zydeco tune on the radio and his life changes completely.
Schultze’s played by Horst Krause, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Curly Howard, if Curly wore eyeglasses and a fedora, and had a deep voice. Not that Shultze is a man of many words.
Director Michael Schorr’s touch is light, slow — and I mean slow –, and makes for a very very funny movie. Schultze is a lucky everyman (I was told once that Schultze is a way to refer to a “generic German” guy, and probably not very complimentary, but have never wanted to find out on my own) who manages to break away from his everyday rutine, and, as Amazon reviewer Donald Liebenson said, “While Schultze’s journey comes to a downbeat conclusion, the film manages to end on a lovely grace note”. That note will make you laugh, too.
I recently watched the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo through Amazon Instant Video.
I read Alexandre Dumas Sr.’s novels and all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books at the age girls read Nancy Drew’s mysteries (which never really caught my imagination), and have, over the years, watched many of the film and TV interpretations of their works. I’ve watched the 1934 Robert Donat, the 1975 Richard Chamberlain, and the 1999 Gerard Depardieu in the title role as the Count of Monte Cristo (or, as Prince would put it, the sailor formerly known as Edmond Dantes). All were different and good (as long as you suspend belief enough to think 13 years at the Chateau D’If could not decrease Depardieu’s avoirdupois), so Jim Caviezel’s Dantes would complete the set.
I loved the enjoyable, fresh, luscious production, and the very moving performances by Caviezel and Richard Harris. Don’t miss the Count’s grand entrance,
Pamela Yates kindly sends the link to her investigation report:
What our guides from Batzul, victims of the massacre, asked of us is that we make clear that the guerrillas and not the Army carried it out. We intend to make a correction that will clarify what happened in this scene in both “When the Mountains Tremble” and “Granito”. It stands as a reminder of the terrible human costs of the violence in 1982-83, when the Guatemalan Government launched a massive offensive against the Maya Ixil people – part of a state sponsored campaign targeting civilians and which led to the CEH’s findings that during the years of the internal armed conflict 93% of the deaths were at the hands of the Armed Forces. What we have learned from this investigation will inform our new film “500 Years”. We remain committed to historical accuracy in our work and to supporting efforts to secure full human rights for all the people of Guatemala within a freely functioning democracy.
I applaud her efforts and thank her for contacting me.
(Please read also Gringo’s comments below.)
Filmmaker to correct 1983 film on Guatemala war (emphasis added):
“When the Mountains Tremble” was an award-winning movie that awakened wide attention to the war in Guatemala. But at least one thing turned out to be wrong — and filmmaker Pamela Yates says she’s going to set it right.
A dramatic scene from the 1983 documentary will be corrected to show that the Batzul massacre highlighted in the film was committed not by the military, but by leftist rebels disguised as soldiers.
. . .
She did not specify how the films will be corrected. In an emailed message, she said “at this point it is premature to say just how I will modify the earlier films.”
Specifically, the Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres – EGP, (Guerrilla Army of the Poor) were responsible for the Batzul massacre.
When The Mountains Tremble has a 20th anniversary edition; here’s the Amazon product description,
The film that shook audiences and critics alike upon its original theatrical release this revoutionary [sic] tour-de-force and Sundance Film Festival winner is now available for the first time on DVD. Digitally remastered to commemorate its 20th Anniversary this special edition chronicles the astonishing story of one woman who stood up for her people and helped wage a rebellion in the wake of seemingly unconquerable oppression. Shot at the height of a heated battle betwwen [sic] the heavily-armed Guatemalan Military and a nearly defenseless Mayan population filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel threw themselves into the center of a storm to capture live combat footage with a surprisingly robust passion and exhilarating flair. As the first film to depict this previously unreported war it is firmly anchored by the firsthand accounds [sic] of Rigoberta Mench+Ý [Menchú] a Quich+ª [Quiche] Indian woman known around the world for her humanitarian efforts. Throughout the imminent chaos and danger Menchu provides courage and optimism in a time where death squads kill without conscience and an oppressive dictator seizes power. Updated after Mench+Ý [Menchú] was awarded the Nobel Peach [sic, Peace] Price WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE includes a compelling filmmaker commentary as well as a never-before-seen introduction from Susan Sarandon and an illuminating epilogue reflecting on the country’s events a decade later. DVD Features: Filmmaker Commentary from Pamela Yates Newton Thomas Sigel and Editor Peter Kinoy; Never-Before-Seen Introduction by Susan Sarandon; Epilogue featuring Rigoberta Mench+Ý [Menchú]; Filmmaker Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection
Regarding Menchú, you may want to read The Truth About Rigoberta Menchú, a review of the book Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans
Stoll went on to examine other aspects of Rigoberta’s book and soon found other claims that were not true. In her book, Rigoberta describes herself as an uneducated peasant girl. In interviews with Rigoberta’s relatives and former classmates, however, Stoll discovered that she’d spent several years at convent schools—first at the Colegio Belga in Guatemala City and then at the Colegio Básico Nuestro Señor de Candelaria in Chiantla, Huehuetenango, where she finished seventh grade—a remarkably high level of education for an Indian girl in Guatemala. Because she’d been in convent school, moreover, Stoll argues that Rigoberta can’t have been employed—as she claims to have been—as a maid for a rich family in Guatemala City, and can’t have worked in abusive conditions on coastal plantations—where she claims a younger brother Nicolás died of malnutrition. Stoll, in fact, found a living brother, Nicolás, who successfully resettled the family’s land long after the war had finished.
Stoll does not deny that Rigoberta’s village was destroyed and that half her family was killed, including her father, her mother, and her brother Petrocinio. But he points out that many of the other events in Rigoberta’s book are either distorted, fabricated, or claim to be eyewitness accounts of events which Rigoberta herself cannot actually have seen. The reason for all this, Stoll argues, is that after Rigoberta fled to Mexico in 1980, she allied herself with guerrilla groups there and “drastically revised the prewar experience of her village to suit the needs of the revolutionary organization she had joined.” In other words, when she wrote her book, Rigoberta was essentially serving as a propagandist.
Last Friday, Fermin Felipe Solano Barillas, also known as ‘Teniente David’, was sentenced to
90 years in prison for ordering a group of 10 guerrillas to strangle and kill in the town of El Aguacate 22 pro-government indigenous farmers, accusing them of collaborating with the army
Solano was with the Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas, or ORPA (Revolutionary Organization of Armed People), another one of the four guerilla groups of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca or URNG (Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity).
The correction of When The Mountains Tremble is quite overdue, but in LatAm leftist circles the truth is glimpsed at a very slow pace.