Jun 1, 2014

The Month In Movies: May 2014

Film(s) Of The Month
Under the Bombs / Commando
Both of these films are, to some extent, about explosions and parents looking for their children, but otherwise they couldn't be more different.  Under the Bombs is a quiet and moving drama about a woman searching for the son she fear may have been killed in Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon and the relationship she has to the taxi driver she hires to take her on this dangerous journey.  It's a two-hander, hinging almost entirely on the performances, which, happily, are outstanding.  It's also a striking watch thanks to the setting; shot in the aftermath of the events it depicts, all of the bombed out settings are real and most of the minor characters are non-actors. 

Commando isn't quiet.  I'd seen bits and pieces of this gloriously silly action-fest over the years, but never the whole film.  It is the ne plus ultra of Arnold Schwarzenegger films, boiling down his appeal to its most wonderfully excessive essence.  The action is over the top but brilliantly staged, Arnie has a lot of fun in the lead and the bad guys are variously badass (Bill Duke) and ludicrous (Vernon Wells and his knitted vest).  This is the kind of movie I love despite knowing that it is utter nonsense and a perfect antidote if ever I get too serious about what I do.

Worst Of The Month
Prince Of The Sun / In the City of Sylvia
Another pair of films that couldn't be more different, or included for more different reasons.  Prince of the Sun is many things, but it's not boring.  The ineptitude of the whole enterprise from the fight choreography to the writing to the comedy to the editing right down to the worst dubbing I've ever seen in my life is so striking that it's pretty hilarious, but it's not good.  I keep going to Cynthia Rothrock films hoping one will show her off to the fine effect that Poloce Assassins did.  No luck so far.

In the City of Sylvia, on the other hand, is boring; painfully, excruciatingly boring.  The first five minutes consist of a man sitting on a bed with a notebook.  The next 24 minutes consist of that same man looking at and sketching women at a cafe.  Yes, you read that right, 24 minutes.  It does attempt to develop a story when he begins following one woman (the staggeringly beautiful Pilar Lopez De Ayala) and then, after another 15 minutes of silent walking, tells her he thinks they met here six years ago, but by that point I was a good 54 minutes past the point at which I gave even the tiniest of fucks.

Best ActorGeorges Khabbaz - Under the Bombs
Best Actress
Nada Abou Farhat - Under the Bombs / Doona Bae - A Girl At My Door
Best Supporting Actress: Kim Sae-ron - A Girl At My Door
Best DirectorPhilippe Aractingi - Under the Bombs
Best Screenplay: Hossein Amini - The Two Faces of January
Biggest SurpriseSabotage
Biggest DisappointmentThe Double
Most Fucked-Up MovieSleepaway Camp
“I’m Pretty Damn Sure No One Else Has Seen This” (and they should)The Super Inframan
Best Scene: Frank's likeable song - Frank
“Why Is He/She Still in Movies?”: Robert DeNiro - Hide and Seek
One To Watch: Kim Sae-Ron - A Girl At My Door
Movie I Finally Got to Friggin’ SeeSleepaway Camp

Hottest Lady: Pilar Lopez De Ayala - In the City of Sylvia

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