April 21, 2012, - 10:13 pm
The best new movies out, this weekend, are foreign films. The American ones–well, they stink.
* “The Lucky One“: This absolutely awful, saccharine chick flick was unbearable and silly. It’s the worst of the Nicholas Sparks-inspired movies.
Zac Efron plays a U.S. Marine who did three tours of dury in Iraq. During his last tour, he find a photo of an attractive blonde woman, and he believes that the photo kept him alive because he wants to live to meet and thank her. When he goes home, he figures out where the lighthouse in the photo is located and goes to Louisiana to meet her. There, we are presented with every stale, old stereotype of Southerners, complete with a very fat, corrupt judge played by a guy who looks like the poor man’s Ned Beatty (and I thought that Ned Beatty was the poor man’s Ned Beatty) and his evil, corrupt son, who is a cop and an abuser of women and civil rights. The son is the father of the out-of-wedlock son attractive woman in the photo.
Efron takes a job at the pet resort run by the woman in the photo and her grandmother. Initially, the woman doesn’t like him, but falls in love with him when he protects her from her abusive cop former boyfriend and befriends her son. And, of course, after the sleazy sex scenes–showing Efron’s butt and showing them squeezing each other’s butts (all things I didn’t need to see)–there is the usual fighting, melodrama, and then reuniting that is color-by-number formula for these cheesy chick flick.
The movie gives us its own version of Pat Tillman Trutherism, by telling us that the woman’s brother was killed in Iraq and the government won’t tell them how, that there’s an investigation, and that the government appears to be covering up that her brother was killed by friendly fire. Ugh. Bad enough that it’s an awful chick flick. Even worse that it comes with ridiculous politics casually inserted into the storyline.
They show the Marine sleeping and having sex in a bed that is apparently covered by a mosquito net, but instead looks like a froofy, gauzy, girlie-ish canopy. And there’s a corny segment in which the women shows him a stone wall built by her brother, with a book she was reading cemented inside when she was a little kid. Um, doesn’t a hardcover paper book disintegrate from the elements. In real life, it does. But syrupy movies like this bear no reality to real life.
And they’re not worth your time.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“: Although this seemed a little repetitive and long for 87 minutes, it’s still enjoyable . . . even if, like me, you don’t like sushi. It’s a documentary about Jiro Ono, Japan’s most successful–and expensive–sushi chef. He only makes sushi, no sides, or appetizers. And you have to make reservations a month in advance to eat at his sushi bar. But critics say his sushi is the best. Jiro is in his 80s and his oldest son, Yoshikazu–who is waiting to take over–is in his 50s.
Jiro preaches the value of hard work. Jiro was on his own at age seven, kicked out of his parents home, after his drunk father left them. He’s been working since age nine. He also preaches perfection. Everything has to taste and look perfect, and he is very exacting. But the part I found most interesting is that Jiro said he feeds women at his sushi bar smaller portions than the men. That’s because he feeds everyone 20 different servings of sushi and he wants everyone to be on the same piece at the same time–it’s like a symphony, and everyone needs to be at the same place. I am waiting for the Gloria Steinem of Japan to sue Jiro on behalf of feminist women and destroy his business. But, thankfully, the Japanese would never stand for that BS.
The one thing I really hated about this movie was the subtitles. The movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. But the subtitles are very difficult to read about half of the time because they are in white and often up against a white background on the screen. that was extremely annoying and frustrating. I also wondered why they don’t show Jiro’s wife or what happened to her. That was odd, since we meet his sons and hear about his other family life.
Otherwise, it’s entertaining and relaxing, but go see it on a full stomach.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Footnote [Hearat Shulayim]“: This Israeli movie is in Hebrew with English subtitles. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film in this year’s Academy Awards. And I can see why. It’s funny, quirky, and dramatic. It’s also interesting, even if it went on a little long.
“Footnote” is the story about two Israeli professors, a father and a son, who are both Talmudic scholars. They are rivals and don’t get along. The father longs for recognition of his life’s work, from which he was cheated by another rival. The son constantly receives the awards and accolades the father seeks. One day, the father is notified that he finally won the Israel Prize. But it’s not exactly what he thinks and drama and moral questions ensue.
Enjoyable and it makes you think.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Think Like a Man“: I also had mixed feelings about this movie, too. It’s just a couple of steps above Tyler Perry material. Make that two tiny baby steps above. The dialogue, characters and story were dopey and predictable. And it was way toooooo long. On the others hand, in this age of slutty, easy women all over the place with kids out of wedlock and living with guys for sport (that’s you, Bristol Palin), this movie had a good message: don’t sleep around or be easy. Respect yourself.
Not that this is an original message. The movie is based on the best-selling Steve Harvey book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment,” which is essentially a rip-off of “The Rules (TM): Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right,” the 1996 best-seller written by two Jewish women, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. Harvey’s version is the urban version, but the ideas are the same: play hard to get to reel in a serious man for a committed relationship.
In the movie, Harvey makes several appearances on talk shows regarding his book and its contents. But the story revolves around several Black women who are all friends and have problems getting men to commit to them and a life together. They use Harvey’s book on the new men in their lives, and it begins working. But then the men, who are also all friends, find out about the book and use it against them.
Like I said, the movie is very predictable. It’s also kinda sappy and cheesy. And waaaay toooo long. At a little over two hours, at least a half hour of moping, crying, and melodrama could have been cut out. Plus the women in this movie are insufferable and manipulative schemers. If I were a guy, I’d run like hell from them, no matter what rules they used or didn’t use.
Guys, this is a chick flick, pure and simple. And definitely not one of the more bearable ones. Oh, and the chicks in the movie: they’re the guys. Just sayin’.
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Ellen Fein, Footnote, Hearat Shulayim, Israel Prize, Israeli, Israeli movies, Japan, Japanese, Jiro, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Jiro Ono, Ned Beatty, Nicholas Sparks, Pat Tillman, Pat Tillman Trutherism, Sherrie Schneider, Steve Harvey, sushi, Talmud, Talmudic scholars, The Rules, The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, Think Like a Man, Tyler Perry, Yoshikazu, Yoshikazu Ono, Zac Efron