November 25, 2011, - 4:42 pm
I’ve already reviewed some of the good new movies for Thanksgiving that came out on Wednesday. Now, here are the also-rans–two I didn’t get to, and one (Marilyn) which just debuted in theaters in my area, today. There’s one decent one and one which is just simply horrifying garbage.
* “My Week With Marilyn“: I’ve always thought Marilyn Monroe was the most overrated figure in history. She was nothing more than a selfish, neurotic, self-absorbed, manipulative, temperamental bimbo, respected only because like James Dean and JFK, she was mediocrity that died young. And, so, I expected to hate this movie. But I liked it, in part because it goes along with my view. On the other hand, others who buy into the “Myth of Marilyn” also like it. Thus, I guess Marilyn flicks are in the eye of the Marilyn beholder. I also liked this because it’s light and fun and full of glamor from the time in which it takes place, the ’50s. It’s not a “great” movie destined to be a classic, but it’s not bad. It’s entertaining and is what we expect to get out of a good time at the movies–almost two hours of escapism. It’s also enjoyable because Michelle Williams nails it, making us instantly believe she is Marilyn Monroe. She gets the persona down in every way, from the mannerisms and behavior to the voice and the look. It’s uncanny.
The story: Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark, a 20 year old English blueblood to the manner born. He wants to impress his aristocratic family, but also wants to pursue his interest in film and make something of himself. So he finagles his way into a job as a third assistant director a/k/a gopher on a set of a movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier being shot in England. Olivier is directing the project, believing it to be a star turn for him. But despite the best laid plans, that’s not how it turns out. Monroe is her usual self. She’s bombastic, unreliable, always late, constantly forgets her lines, and always broods, pouts, and cries. Soon Clark and Monroe develop a friendship which appears on the cusp of turning into more.
It’s a bearable kind of chick flick, though less bearable because Marilyn Monroe is the man, and young Colin Clark is definitely the chick, doe-eyed, naive, fawning, and all. It’s somewhat predictable from beginning to end, but a balmy, light, pleasant road along the way.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Descendants“: This highly over-rated exercise in ennui stars the world’s most arrogant actor, George Clooney. And he’s suited for the role as a know-it-all, workaholic lawyer and Hawaiian resident, who thinks he is smarter, better, and more moral than everyone else in his life. But he’s in for a rude awakening. He’s out of touch.
Clooney is the descendant of a Hawaiian princess and an American banker, and he’s the trustee for his far-flung set of waspy-looking Hawaiian relatives deciding what to do with 25,000 acres of valuable Hawaiian land they’ve all inherited on Kauai. Clooney wants to sell to a local hotel, golf course, and shopping mall developer, though some relatives want to keep the land intact. Clooney’s wife is an adventurous person who gets severely injured and put in a coma during a boating or water-skiing accident. Clooney must deal with his two young daughters and become close to them again, as he struggles with his wife’s deteriorating health condition in the hospital and discovers she was cheating on him.
The only thing admirable about this movie was the eventually close relationship between father and daughters. But that wasn’t enough to get me to like this very slow movie chock full of the smug Clooney moralizing and lecturing us as he does in real life. Annoying is the best word for this film in which little is resolved and the people are highly unlikable.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Skin I Live In [La Piel Que Habito]“: This is the most disturbing, horrifying, disgusting, barbaric, warped movie I’ve seen in recent memory. I was absolutely sickened and should have walked out, as more than one person did (I was not at a studio screening–which I couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict, but went to see this on my own). This is billed as a “sci-fi thriller,” but don’t let that fool ya. It’s a complete piece of utter abomination and garbage. Nothing thrilling about it, and there’s hardly “sci-fi,” so much as there is rape and torture. This “movie” is absolute proof that no matter how warped and disgusting our own un-American Hollywood is, the movie industries of Europe are far worse and and even more beyond help. This movie is so sick, so bad that mere words are not enough to convey just how awful and perverted it is. But I will provide the spoilers here, so that you don’t waste a penny on this sickening cinematic display. (It’s in Spanish with English subtitles.)
Mr. Melanie Griffith a/k/a Antonio Banderas stars as a plastic surgeon, whose wife and daughter have both committed suicide and whose daughter was raped. Banderas’ surgery clinic is inside his mansion. Banderas’ wife was having an affair with Banderas’ half-brother, the maid’s wanted criminal son (the maid is also Bandera’s mother, unbeknownst to him). Then, the wife was engulfed in flames in the car while she’s there with her lover. She is hideously deformed from the burns, and when she sees herself in the mirror, she jumps out the window in front of her daughter.
Then there’s the daughter. Since both the daughter and the guy who raped her were hopped up on drugs and alcohol and begin having sex, I’m not sure I’d call it rape, as she tries to get him to stop in the middle–and then he knocks her out (okay, that part is the violence and rape). The daughter goes nuts after the rape and kills herself after some time at an insane asylum. To get revenge, Banderas kidnaps the guy who did it and gives him a forced sex change operation against his will, transforming him into a beautiful woman whom he keeps prisoner in his house. In the process, he discovers a new, tougher skin transplant morphing the cells of pigs and humans. Banderas develops a crush on this alleged rapist whom he’s forcibly changed into a woman, who looks similar to his dead wife.
One day, the maid’s criminal son, Banderas’ half-brother, returns to the mansion and rapes the newly sex-changed rapist. Banderas returns home and kills him and then begins having sex with the rapist whom he forcibly sex-changed to look like a woman. Ultimately, the kidnapped, sex-changed woman kills Banderas and Banderas’ maid/mother and returns to his mother, who has been looking for her kidnapped son for two years. He must tell his mother what has happened to him and how he’s been forcibly changed into a woman.
Sick. Nauseating. Disgusting. Warped. That’s what passes for “art” in arthouse movie theaters, these days. Thanks, Antonio Banderas, for contributing to the human waste material in the world’s intellectual septic tank. If you like this movie, you are in serious need of help . . . and a straitjacket.
FOUR MARXES PLUS
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Antonio Banderas, Colin Clark, Eddie Redmayne, George Clooney, Hawaii, Kauai, La Piel Que Habito, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, Michele Williams, Michelle Williams, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, My Week With Marilyn, The Descendants, The Skin I Live In