Monthly Archives: January 2009

Taken (2008)

You don’t remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.

— Bryan

First, I want to say, “Fuck, yeah!” Okay. I’m done.

Taken is a movie that is finally getting a release here in the States while it played everywhere in the world for months now. It’s even on DVD in Europe. Some of my friends have seen the movie in DVD form from their friends in Europe. I was so jealous. I heard about the awesome kills. Yes, there are some awesome kills in this movie.

All right. Before I have a mind-gasm over what I saw, let me set up the movie.

While on the phone with his daughter, a former CIA “preventer” Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) overhears a kidnapping taking place in an apartment in Paris where Kim (Maggie Grace) sees her friend, Amanda (Katie Cassidy) being taken.

Bryan instructs her that the same action is going to happen to her. It does. With only a couple of days to find his daughter goes to different places to find the Albanian people that have his daughter before she is sold into prostitution in France.

I didn’t much for the dialogue that much. The dialogue was stilted. It’s a typical action film. It’s in the same vein as Commando or Die Hard. There is no big spoilers here. Same basic plot.

Liam Neeson would like older version of Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum mixed in with — as friend called it — taking Jack Bauer, age him twenty years. That is so true.

There is one scene that is worth the price of admission. There is an interrogation scene dealing with metal stakes, exposed wounds, jumper cables and electricity. Classic.

My judgment: If you are looking for a big dumb action movie with creative kills, watch this movie.

My rating: ***1/2

Good Dick (2008)

If I wanted to have sex I’d go out and find someone who was actually sexy.

Catchy title, huh? I first saw the title for Good Dick and I was intrigued about the movie. Looking at the comments on IMDB, people were saying that the movie was “surprisingly moving”. I decided to take a chance and I rolled snake eyes. This movie was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance. Why?

The movie is an unconventional love story with an unnamed video store clerk (Jason Ritter) at a place called Cinefile, who becomes obsessed with a damaged woman, played by writer/director Marianna Palke, that comes by the store to rent erotica every night.

The Man lives in his car outside of the Woman’s apartment building. He offers her some better movies for her to pleasure herself with.

He is like a cold sore. He comes in and out of her life. She wants him to go away. He is insistent in his pursuit of a “relationship” with her.

I was not moved by this film. The only part that I thought was compelling was an exchange between the Man and his co-worker. That’s it.

My judgment: It was a nice movie. Don’t there was nothing of substance here.

My rating: **

No End In Sight (2007)

The American Occupation of Iraq –
The Inside Story From the Ultimate Insiders

Now that Barack Obama is the new president of the United States, I wanted to dive into the situations and predicaments that he is facing, dealing with an economy in turmoil, three wars, unemployment rates skyrocketing, and the growing recession. I wanted to see the 2007 Academy Award nominated documentary, No End In Sight, which is currently #15 on the best documentary list on IMDB.

In this talking head documentary by director, Charles Ferguson, it recounts the inept decision making to begin the campaign for Operation: Iraqi Freedom back in March 2003. It chronicles the invasion, the fall of Saddam’s regime, the occupation by the US troops, having no team to run the Iraqi government,also the limited resources to restore the peace, which lead to riots, looting, and the rise of insurgency.

This movie does not sugarcoat the blame to Donald Rumfeld aka “Skeletor” was the mastermind behind invading a country with no idea how to maintain the peace after the fighting stopped. Appointing Paul Bremer to be the head honcho in charge — stupid idea– thus fucking everything up with his controversial policies of not having a provisional Iraqi government, the de-Ba’athfication (anybody who worked for Saddam were permanently out of work) and disbanding the Iraqi armed forces.

I have never been so ashamed of my country then when the botched Iraqi war raged on. I am glad that we have a competent team in the White House that could restore some stability in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel.

My judgment: If you want a comprehensive documentary about how Bush administration actions destroyed a nation, then watch this.

My rating: ****1/2

Towelhead (2008)

How Can You Find Yourself if No One Can See You?

I mentioned this movie, Towelhead on my worst movies of 2008 list a while ago. I didn’t want to write a review, because why waste my time with this movie. I heard that a podcast that I listen to on a regular basis, /Filmcast was reviewing the DVD on their show with Stephen Tobolowsky. Stephen is so cool that I would give this movie another shot for him.

I still hate it, even more now. I would be revealing spoilers out the yin-yang about this pile of a movie.

If you have any desire to watch this movie, don’t. If you do, do not read any further. You have been warned.

Towelhead tells the story of a 13-year-old Lebanese girl named Jasira Maroun (Summer Bishil) who in the opening scene of this movie is in the bathroom with her mom’s boyfriend, Barry (Chris Messina) shaving her pubes. What the fuck? There is a whole deal with her pubes that I will delve into later.

Her mom, Gail Monahan (Maria Bello) discovers them. She blames Jasira for her boyfriend doing that to her. She promply sends Jasirs to her uptight, conservative Lebanese-Christian father, Rifat’s (Peter Macdissi) house in Houston.

He treats her like a servant. When she arrives at the table with no bra on under her shirt. He slaps her across the face.

The next door neighbors Travis and Evelyn Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart, Carrie Preston) come by with their son, Zack (Chase Ellison). They try to be nice to Jasira welcoming her and they offend the father about the Persian Gulf War.

Jasira becomes Zack’s babysitter. He calls her “towelhead”, “camel jockey”, and “sand nigger.” Why? Are all Texans that ignorant? She catches Zack in his father’s weight room looking at a porno magazine. Jasira has daydreams about the busty women in various montages. Why are they there? Travis catches them reading the mags. He is taken with Jasira.

She rhythmically moves her legs until she has an orgasm when she is by herself at home or school.

Anyway, writer/director, Alan Ball shows Jasira riding the crimson wave all over the place. Rifat doesn’t want to buy tampons for her. The maxi pads he buys doesn’t hold her heavy flow. A Hispanic woman talking to her in Spanish in the school toilet while handing her a tampon. What? Everybody brown-skinned person should know Spanish all of sudden. They show her bloody tampon in the toilet at the father’s house. He discovers it. Calls her a slut.

Then, everybody post-pubescent boy wants to have a piece of Jasira. I guess, when she is bleeding, the boys go in heat. Everybody wants her milkshake. Travis Vuoso comes back and fingers her up and sees his bloody fingertips and leaves.

There is a sequence with the grandmother in Beirut. Why is she writing to Jasira in French? Jasira doesn’t know French. If they speak French in Lebanon, then I stand corrected. She had to have a classmate translate the letter to her class. After class, people are calling her “diaperhead” and “sand nigger”. Give me a break.

The boy that called her a sand nigger, Thomas (Eugene Jones III) says to her that people shouldn’t say that to her. You just did it, you dipshit. Later, he wants to shave her crotch, feel her up, jerk off in front of her and then “take her virginity.” Oh, spare me, One Minute Man.

The father gives Jasira a taste of beer. Travis comes back to apologize. He takes Jasira out of dinner in a Mexican restaurant has gotten Jasira drunk off of his margarita. Then, later has Jasira take her clothes off and have sex with him while her dad is away with his girlfriend.

The only saving grace in this film is Toni Collete and Matt Letscher as the other neighbors, Gil and Melina Hines. Their house was a safe haven for Jasira when her father physically abuses her.

I had enough of the film and I turned it off.

I was personally offended as a fellow Houstonian where this film takes place. We do not have the stupid accent that everyone is speaking. We are not stupid hillbillies that called people, “towelheads”, “diaperheads” or “sand niggers” in rapid secession.

Why would anybody love this movie? What is it about the subject matter that appealed to Alan Ball?

These characters are awful human beings. Why was this movie made? I’m sorry. Not everything that Alan Ball touches turns to gold. This was a large lump of coal.

My judgment: If you want to have a story about child molestation, bodily fluids and dysfunctional families, I would suggest reading Running With Scissors. Don’t watch that godawful movie it was based on.

My rating: *

The Suck It Award: Undeserving Movie

Ulimate Suck It Award: Most Undeserving Movie?
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Omie Nominees: Song

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Omie Nominees: Documentary

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Omie Nominees: Foreign Movie

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Omie Nominess: Supporting Actress

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Omie Nominees: Supporting Actor

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