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127 Hours (2010)

You know, I’ve been thinking. Everything is… just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock… this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.

Aron Ralston

After I was puzzled by the massive success of Danny Boyle’s last directorial effort, Slumbog Shit-in-there, I wanted to see if he could redeem himself with the 219th Film of All-Time on IMDb, 127 Hours. It recently received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. I was happy that the movie expanded this weekend that I could finally watch it. It is a fantastic film.

Best Actor nominee James Franco plays Aron Ralston who penned the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” after his ordeal. The setting takes place  in April 2003 where Aron is hiking in Moab, Utah where he slips trying to climb Blue John Canyon where he gets his right forearm crush beneath a boulder. As the title suggests, Aron is stuck in the canyon for almost a week with little food and water.

Aron tries in vain to remove the rock from sheer brute strength. Survival mode kicks in where Aron tries to chip away at the rock with a cheap pocketknife that eventually dulls it. As the hours drag on, Aron has to deal with the brutal elements of extreme hot and cold, malnutrition, dehydration and having the sense of claustrophobia. Feeling a sense of his impending doom, Aron uses his video recorder to document his harrowing journey to break free.

Slowly, his mind beings to drift away to his parents played by Treat Williams and Kate Burton, not being in his sister, Sonja’s wedding (Lizzy Caplan), recalling his fling with Rana (Clémence Poésy) and having a chance meeting with lost hikers, Kristi (Kate Mara) and Megan (Amber Tamblyn). Soon, Aron has to make a choice between killing a part of himself or killing his whole self.

I have never been so physically moved with a movie that would make me weak in the knees. That’s what this film has made me feel afterwards. It’s no surprise that there is an arm-cutting sense in this movie. I thought that it would more gruesome than it actually was. It was a brief bit of horror on-screen. The film actually made me want to throw up. That has never happened with a gory horror movie. That has to say something about Danny Boyle’s way of directing. His fernetic pace actually work here where Aron is slipping into a claustrophobic madness.

Judgment:  My faith is restored for Danny Boyle. Case closed.

Rating:  *****

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Here’s a question. Was it morally wrong for me to exploit my knowledge of the future for personal financial gain? Perhaps. Here’s another question. Do I give a fuck?

— Lou

Here is another movie that had the dreaded comparison of being the next Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine. Now, granted, hearing that title doesn’t give you a lot of confidence about the quality of the movie. It seems very straightforward. It’s not high concept, but damn enjoyable travel back in time.

This is a story about three friends who have been estranged for years. Their lives have not faired too well with Nick (Craig Robinson), a promising musician turn is now working at a dog groomer. Adam (John Cusack) is recovering over a bad break-up with his girlfriend who takes almost all of his shit. He shares the house with his nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke) who only wants to text or play Second Life online. Lou (Rob Corddry) has the short end of the stick around this group. He is sloppy drunk who almost asphixates himself when he pulls into his garage to have his air drummer solo with the gas pedal.

Lou’s downward spiral forces the trio back together at his hospital room after so many years. Nobody in Lou’s life want anything to do with him, because he is such a slush. Nick and Adam have a plan to revisit a place they frequented when they were in college, Kodiak Valley.

When Adam decides to take Jacob along for the job, it does not sit too well with Lou, because he hates Jacob with a passion. The gang arrives at Kodiak Valley to find that it is not Partytown USA like it used to be. It is almost a ghost town with boarded up building. The Silver Peaks ski lodge doesn’t fair too well either. It smells like feline and the staff including Phil (Crispin Glover), the one-armed bellhop.

The guys check into the same room that they did twenty years ago and look around. The old friends reflect on the glory days of their youth. The hot tub suddenly glows a golden hue. They strip and pile in the tub to drink heavily. Things get Caligula flurry drunk dream in the tub when a drink short circuits the machine that transports them to 1986. Things get complicated when random occurences could threaten the future or Jacob’s existence.

I knew that this film was going to be idiotic and I accepted that. There certain instances in the movie that didn’t make sense with the mystical repairman (Chevy Chase) or how people could see Jacob even though he didn’t exist. There were some uncomfortable moments when Nick is yelling at his then-nine-year-old future wife about cheating on him or when the mystery of who Jacob’s father was revealed, I almost had to take a shower about what might have happened if certain situations happened.

The actors knew how ridiculous this movie was going to be at they even poked fun at the title of movie with Craig Robinson’s character. I enjoyed Rob Corddry. He was fucking hysterical in the movie. Anybody playing a foul-mouthed slurring booze hound would be a riot. He was lovable loser.

I thought the ending was huge cop-out. If I had a time machine, I would go back when I fucked my life up royally, but I wouldn’t because I wouldn’t learn the things I know now.

Judgment: What else can you say about a movie about a time traveling hot tub?

Rating: ***1/2

Cloverfield (2008)

I saw Cloverfield this morning and I was so bored. I wished that everybody died in that film. Why did the monster chase after this group of people for seven hours?

I hated it. I watched the whole thing, because of Lizzy Caplan. I love her. That’s it.

Judgment: Don’t bother with this film. Why is this getting a sequel?

Rating: *1/2

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