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Eat Pray Love (2010)

Maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic. It’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

I haven’t heard glowing remarks for Ryan Murphy latest directorial effort, Eat Pray Love, based on the best-selling novel. I was in the mood to see fluffy romantic comedy, because I was having a crappy day. Well, the movie did not put me in a better mood.

Julia Roberts plays a travel writer named Elizabeth Gilbert. She travels to the most gorgeous places in the world, but she doesn’t have the best life. Her husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup) is very unsure about what he wants to do with his life. It causes conflict with the two, because Elizabeth wants to have kids, but she sees that will never be the case. At a party, Stephen holds Delia’s(Viola Davis) baby like hold a big bag of poop.

Liz have an epiphany when she is reminded of the words from a wise man from one of the places she visited, Bali, Ketut (Hadi Subiyanto) that she will have a major change and that she will come back to find herself. Liz decides to leave her husband, but she winds up in the arms of a vegetarian actor, David (James Franco). Their relationship is on the fast track, but Liz reminds herself that she has either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy.

She wants to take a vacation for a year to find herself and find inner peace. Her loved ones think that she is a fool for doing such a thing. She wants to visit Italy to find comfort with herself, India to reconcile her mind and body and finally Bali to fulfill Ketut’s prediction for her.

I thought that the movie was going to be like Under the Tuscan Sun where a woman is in a crossroads in her life and she is trying to find herself. I get that what was Ryan Murphy’s intention, but it did not translate well on-screen to me. I saw glimmers of it here and there, but not that much to keep me interested in the story.

There is something about Julia Roberts that bothers me. I don’t know if it’s the way her face looks, those three veins protruding out of her forehand that freaks me out.

You have a solid cast with Richard Jenkins as Richard, a man from Texas trying to have a solace in an ashram or Javier Bardem as a businessman who is trying to woo Liz. The story was rushed is some ways and dragged on in others. I kept thinking throughout the movie, when will it be over? It was over two hours long. It felt like five.

Judgment: There was a choice of watching the theatrical or the director’s cut, I thought why bother with the director’s cut.

Rating: 4.5/10

Let Me In (2010)

 Do you think there’s such a thing as evil?

— Owen

I wanted to see Let Me In for a long time, because I gave high praise for the Swedish version, Let the Right One In. I h ave no idea what prevented me from seeing it, but my other sister-in-law rented the movie — she loves vampire movies — and I told her that I wanted to see the movie. After she was done with that, she lent it to me. This happened after midnight and a full moon rising before my SIL festival was supposed to start. That might be why I was disappointed with the movie.

 The setting transforms from the desolate of Sweden to the stark black, gold and white landscapes of Los Alamos, New Mexico 1983. We meet a lonely boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who is constantly bullied by Kenny (Dylan Minnette) and his cronies, Mark (Jimmy “Jax” Pinchak) and Donald (Nicolai Dorian). Owen dreams of the day to get back on the assholes that torment him everyday.

One night while looks out of his bedroom window, Owen sees a little girl, Abby (Chloë Moretz) and her Father (Richard Jenkins) moving into the apartment next door. He notices that it is March and she doesn’t have any shoes on.

The audience sees that the new neighbors are not what they seem to be. The Father stalks in the night to kill virile young men and drain them of their blood. A Policeman (Elias Koteas) tries to figure out who is killing this men solely for their blood.

Owen and Abby meet each other on the jungle gym in the courtyard of their apartment building. They begin to build a friendship while Abby helps out Owen with his bully problem and Owen keeps Abby’s secret from others.

To those people who have seen the Swedish version — which I have subtitled and dubbed — I thought it was infinitely better this version. I did stay faithful to the original, but it lost the hidden mysteries that were in the original. The origin of Abby, the relationship between Abby and her Father, etc.

Some things were changed for better, but mostly for the worst. I know that the screenwriters wanted to get rid of the peripheral characters, but those characters made the world more dangerous. You did not delve into Owen’s broken home and his parents relationship. It was barely touched on. It could have been great with the Virginia (Sasha Barrese) character and her transformation.

I felt cheated with this movie. I have no qualms in saying that the movie was at times boring to watch. The leads were very morose and monotone that I prayed for the movie to be over.

Judgment: There were so many chances for the film to be as good as Let the Right One In, but it didn’t.

Rating: 6/10

Step Brothers (2008)

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I will kick you repeatedly in the balls!

— Brennan Huff

When I first saw the trailer for Step Brothers, I thought that it was the most unfunny thing ever. I thought that the movie would be godawful, but I was surprised that I liked it so much. I laughed out loud in the first five minutes of the film. I was set.

I’m not saying that this is the best comedy of the year. No. It was enjoyable.

It revolves around this blended family when Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) meets each other at a conference and quickly married. They have their slacker adult sons in the house.

There is Dale (John C. Reilly), a lazy man that is very territorial about his drum set and Brennan (Will Ferrell) that has a chip on his shoulder. At first, they hate each other and want to kill each other, but eventually they grown to like each other.

The family situation seems implausible, but you have to shut off your brain for this film.

There are some things that I did not like. I did not the sleepwalking scenes. It seemed so forced and convenient that both of sons have the same condition. When the parents wanted them to get jobs, the interview montage was ill-conceived. Dead in the water. The crying scene at the dinner table near the end of the movie was not good. The heart-to-heart scene with Robert, Brennan, and Dale? Really?

There is a character that I didn’t like at all. It was the younger brother of Brennan, Derek (Adam Scott). He dragged the movie down. It’s not because he played a complete douche bag, but his jokes were so juvenile. I hated every scene that he’s in, except for the scene that he got punched in the face. When you are not funny at all, you should be punched in the face.

Judgment: There are some genuine laughs in the movie. Kathryn Hahn who plays Derek’s wife, Alice steals every scene.

Rating: ***1/2

The Mudge Boy (2003)

I heard some raves about Emile Hirsch’s performance in 2003’s, The Mudge Boy. People were complaining that this was a depressing, disturbing movie. I agree with the latter part.

When we meet Duncan Midge (Hirsch), his father, Edgar (Richard Jenkins) catches him with a cock in his mouth. No, not that. Get your head out of the gutter, people. He has his pet chicken named Chicken’s head in his mouth.

This is a broken family after the matriarch, Lydia (Sandra Gartner) dies of a heart attack while riding her bike in the country road. Edgar sees the very same traits in his sensitive son.

The Mudges live in small town America were young gay boys like Duncan have no outlet of normalcy. He begins to act out by dressing up in his mother’s furs and hangs out with the wrong crowd.

Duncan forms an unlikely friendship with the cocky troublemaker, Perry (Tom Guiry). Perry and his band of cronies try to teach Duncan how not to play and be friends with chickens. They wanted him to be cool like them.

Perry tries to flaunt his masculinity and heterosexuality in front of Duncan face when he showed him his privates. The more time that Duncan and Perry spend together, the closer they get to each other.

Whenever somebody makes fun of Duncan, Perry would defend him. They begin to grow closer to each other. Perry doesn’t want to have feelings for another boy and he acts out.

Edgar tries to make a man out of Duncan by forcing him to do more manly chores around the farm.

There are some scenes in this film that are very disturbing. There is a scene between Duncan and Perry when Perry forces himself on Duncan. He doesn’t rape him, but he does have sex with him.

I have to point out that I do not condone this behavior. Also, Perry does not use protection. I don’t care where you are, if you are discovering boy for the first time, do not have unprotected sex.

There is also a scene towards the end of the film when Duncan harms a chicken that freaked me out. People are talking about the merits of that scene. Was Duncan trying to end the grieving process of his mother? Was he trying to prove his maleness to Perry and his friends? Was Duncan trying to suppress his homosexuality by doing this act?

Both Duncan and Edgar try move on the their lives without Lydia.

If you have a strong stomach for disturbing subject matter, then I would suggest this film.

My rating: *** stars.

Burn After Reading (2008)

After I was cheering and screaming at the television when I heard the Golden Globe nominations, I wanted to try to see the a good portion of the movies that are nominated before the ceremony on January 11th. This movie, Burn After Reading, was nominated for Best Actress, Frances McDormand and Best Picture Comedy/Musical.

I saw the film and I was disappointed with it. After the masterpiece, No Country for Old Men, I was expecting alot more from the Coen Brothers. You have Oscars falling out of their asses with Clooney, Swinton, Pitt, McDormand, Jenkins, and Malkovich. I was bored.

I did not care about these characters. The situations were ridiculous. I was underwhelmed. The Coens are not good with straight comedy. Anybody heard of The Ladykillers? Intolerable Cruelty ?

I thought that this movie would be like O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. It’s not. Not by a longshot.

Avoid this movie. It will not win the Golden Globe.

My rating: * star.

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