Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Movie Bitch Reviews: BMX Bandits

This week, the Movie Bitch tackles a kids' film from Australia called "BMX Bandits," which happens to star Nicole Kidman in one of her first film roles. They may say "Foster's," Australian for Beer but BMX Bandits is Australian for "piece of shit."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Movie Bitch Presents: Bitch Fits: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Appreciate The Bieber

This week's Bitch Fit will focus on the popularity of Justin Bieber and how the teen idols of the past have contributed to his success. Be thankful that I did not put any of his songs in this Bitch Fit. Believe me you don't want to hear any of it.

Stay Sassy,
The Movie Bitch

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Runaways: The Film That Stars Bella From Twilight and Dakota Fanning Who Dresses Like A Teenage Prostitute



 The Runaways were a great band. They were the precursor to the Grrrl Riot Bands of the early to mid 90’s and spawned the successful solo careers of Joan Jett and Heavy Metal Queen Lita Ford. Of course their success was short lived but their “rise to fall” Rock N’ Roll story couldn’t resist Hollywood’s siren call and thus was born The Runaways, the feature length film in which focuses on the relationship between Joan Jett and Cherie Currie the original lead singer of The Runaways.

The film was of course written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, a music video director, which was adapted from Cherrie Currie’s memoir Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway. The film is obviously very indicative of its time period because of the way the film was shot and what was used to film this movie. Being that it took place in the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s, the look and feel of this film is perfect and Sigismondi does take a few experimental visual liberties which complete the overall look and feel of the film.

Unfortunately the film’s aesthetics is the strongest asset. Everything else falls short. Dakota Fanning (who plays Cherri Currie) looks the part but her performance is too mannered and it is too stiff. For Fanning, who obviously has a lot of talent and charisma, it is a shame that she downplayed Cherrie Currie to the point that she was barely noticeable. Not to mention, is it just me or is every movie that Dakota Fanning has recently starred in trying to make her into a teenage prostitute. Not that I have anything wrong with her trying to go for challenging and more adult roles, but please do remember that when watching this film, keep in mind that she is still 15 years old and still in high school.

Michael Shannon, on the other hand, plays Kim Fowley to the point that reaches “camp” territory. His performance was so over-the-top, that not even Tim Roth’s performance in Rob Roy couldn’t top that (and believe me when I say this, Tim Roth really upped the “campiness” in his portrayal of Archibald).

One of the other big issues of this film is the plot. Even though the plot was based off of Ms. Currie’s experiences, it still remains formulaic. Even though the aesthetics make the film seem different from all of the other Rock N’ Roll Biopics, the underdeveloped plot is what makes the film formulaic. With Sigismondi’s previous works, you would think that she would have taken this film to a different direction and made it into a much fresher take on the Rock N’ Roll biopic. Of course this film also felt more like a feminine version of Todd Haines’ Velvet Goldmine (a far superior film about the music scene in the 70’s and 80’s).

Not all of the acting in this film was stiff. The only actress in the film that really connected with their character and gave their character life and vitally (and I really hate to say this because of her previous works) was Kristen Stewart. Despite the fact that I dislike her immensely because of the Twilight Franchise, Stewart really stood out in this film. She was likable, tough, spunky, ballsy and a total “badass”, a phrase that Kim Fowley would use to describe her. It is clear that out of all the actors, Stewart did her homework (pardon the pun) and then some with her portrayal of Joan Jett. Kristen, I’m sure Joan Jett is really proud of your performance. In my opinion, out of all the films that she has done, I believe that this is the one role and movie that Kristen Stewart was genuinely interested in doing. Maybe her performances in this film and in Adventureland might actually coax me into actually liking her. Then again, she is still signed on to that Twilight Franchise so every time I see her, I still want to punch her in the face.

Overall, The Runaways is not exactly a “Runaway” hit, but it is an interesting take on the band’s history and that period of time. The look and feel of the film is superb, but the acting in this movie (except for Stewart’s) is what prevented me from truly liking it. The story is extremely formulaic despite the aesthetics and the film drags on a little too long than it should have.

For those of you who are fans of Joan Jett or The Runaways, this is a treat and you will not be disappointed, but for those who want a much better Rock N’ Roll film, may I recommend  The Doors, Velvet Goldmine, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Tommy or Almost Famous?


Monday, August 16, 2010

The World is Really Against Scott Pilgrim



There aren’t too many great films based on the video gaming culture at large. It would be dismissive of me if I didn’t mention Grandma’s Boy, but let’s be honest: as much as I acknowledge that Grandma’s Boy had really funny moments, it is not a very good film overall. The problem with Grandma’s boy is that it appeals to the stereotypical 17-year old male who delights in laughing at pot and sex jokes.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is nothing like Grandma’s Boy. Nor is like any other comedy that I have seen this summer so far. The film is based off of the graphic novel of the same name by Brian Lee O’Malley. Director Edgar Wright (best known for directing the superb zombie parody fest Shaun of the Dead) knew what he was working with and was obviously familiar with the material. What I mean by “material” is not just the graphic novel, but also the many video game references laced throughout.

Not to say that the film was horribly done. The film was very well put together and was incredibly colorful and imaginative, but the film still presents its own set of issues. One of the main issues of the film is the pacing. The pacing seems unbalanced at certain points. One of the best examples would be when Scott faces the Katayanagi twins (Shota and Keita Saito). The entire sequence is rushed and very little is explained about the brothers in the scene before and during the Battle of the Bands. Of course the scene before does try to give the twins their own history with Ramona, but even that is not explained at all.

Another issue that persisted with the film is some of the characters. Although they were executed wonderfully, they seem to play out as stock characters as opposed to real people. The only characters that felt real were Wallace (Kieran Culkan), Knives (Ellen Wong) and Scott’s band members. Michael Cera at this point is starting to be type casted but this film did allow him to play the awkward, snarky, somewhat jerky guy as opposed to the awkward, snarky, but sweet guy. There is not much of a difference there Michael, next time you accept a role, make sure you are playing a jerk, I have faith that you can show a lot more range when you are given the opportunity to do so.

The last and biggest issue with the film is the humor. Much of the humor of this film lies with the audience’s knowledge of video games and video gaming culture. This is one of the problems that I had with the film. One of my biggest issues is “how can I recommend this film?” Do not misunderstand me, the jokes and the references in the film were incredibly clever and funny (except for the Seinfeld riff and the laugh track). The main issue is will the audience get it? I’m fairly certain that most of the audience that goes to see this film will know a little bit about video games, but not enough to enjoy and “get” the jokes Scott Pilgrim will throw your way.

Overall, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was an enjoyable and entertaining experience for me. It is funny, clever, bright, exciting and sweet. If I was certain that it would be a film that the average movie audience would enjoy then I would highly recommend it. However, with so many video game references, this is a film that only members of the geek culture (like myself) would truly enjoy and appreciate. As for the rest of the movie audience population, I wouldn’t be so sure.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Fat and The Furious: Tokyo Mochi Cakes...mmmmmmmm....Mochi Cake

So where do I start with this film:

Wow...a sequel to a shitty franchise without Paul Walker. This should be interesting.

This movie is a mess. It cannot decide if it wants to be porn for gear heads or if it wants to be the most stereotypical film in recent memory. One thing for sure it fails at one and it succeeds in the other.

Clearly a film of such high cinematic caliber shows much respect for the Japanese and their culture by representing the two things Japan is well known for: Drifting and jerky Japanese guys.

Let's dive into this broken souped up vehicle of a sequel shall we?

So the movie starts out with a guy named Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) a 17 year old with a talent for auto mechanics. Wait a minute...this guy does not look 17 at all! Take a look at this picture:

"I so do not want to be here right now. I have shamed my family by starring in a porno film for gear heads."

He looks like he's in his late 20's early 30's. Take a closer look at that picture again. He does not look like a 17 year old! What the fuck Hollywood?! You couldn't find a kid that was close to 17 that had a working knowledge of auto mechanics or something?!

Anyway, Sean goes to school and then a girl notices his old school ride and starts to talking to him. Of course the captain of the football team is not at all pleased (by the way, the oldest kid from Home Improvement is in this shit fest). After Zachary Ty Brian chews the scenery he decides to challenge Sean to a drag race and the girl that was talking to Sean offers herself up as a prize. Wow isn't this shit so enlightening and to think, we young ladies have come so far thanks to the feminist movement.

So Sean wins the race and the douchey football player and his idiot girlfriend crash their car and Sean finds himself in jail. Of course his mother bails him out by giving the cop a blowjob and as a result, Sean is sent to Tokyo, Japan to live with his dad, where he will encounter the many stupid stereotypes that Americans have of the Japanese.

Americans think that the Japanese like to dress like ravers and do Dance Dance Revolution in the Streets.

So after he ends at his father's door, a prostitute comes out and his dad appears, how nice. So after having a nice chat with his dad, Sean goes to bed and wakes the next morning to find that he is incredibly late to school. Being the token fish out of water, Sean meets Twinkie (Lil Bow Wow in his first and hopefully last major movie role), a fellow American who hawks imported goods. So far we have already counted four stereotypes in this film and Twinkie is the fifth one, I hope you are all keeping up with me. Wait a minute, his name is Twinkie? What the fuck? Why is his name Twinkie? I mean it doesn't make any sense. Is he named Twinkie because he likes twinkies or is it some sort of inside joke or something? Explain movie, EXPLAIN!!!!

Anyway, Twinkie introduces Sean to the world of drifting and then has his first of many several encounters with Takashi aka "DK" (short for "Drift King." Shit I thought it was "Donkey Kong."). Of course Sean meets the girl of his dreams, Neela (Nathalie Kelley) who happens to be Australian. Ok, not to nitpick here but is she was Australian wouldn't she have a slight accent at least or a heavy one. In fact she doesn't have one at all in this fucking movie! Come on! All I'm asking for is a little consistency. Oh wait, this is Fast and Furious we are talking about here.

The Fast and Furious Franchise: Where intelligence, common sense and consistency go to die.

So after Sean epically fails on his first try as a drift racer, Han (Leonardo Nam) decides to become Mr. Miyagi and trains the dumb fucker on how to become a drift king.

Pictured: A young Mr. Miyagi

Wait a minute. Wait the fuck a minute. You know what, I should have seen this shit from the start! This movie is ripping off The Karate Kid! This film is rip off of the fucking Karate Kid! I mean you have the kid who doesn't fit in, the girl he's got a boner for, the annoying but lovable best friend, the somewhat absentee parent, the Kobra Kai fucker and the lovable Asian stereotype! Un-fucking-believable!

Wow, I don't now if I should continue with this review because everybody knows how The Karate Kid begins and ends. I mean, this movie is a rip off that film! Jesus H. Christ!

Anyway, Sean decides to train with Mr. Miyagi, I mean Han Solo, sorry Han and he learns how to drift while he and Twinkie are doing shit in Tokyo. This is of course done in montage form for a good chunk of the movie. Of course Neela and Sean begin to get closer to one another and becuase of this Takashi beats the shit out of Sean. When Neela finds out about this, she leaves Takashi to be with Sean. See, The Karate Kid formula at work in this fucking movie.

"Hey baby, you can call me Daniel-San."

Takashi's uncle Kamata (Sonny Chiba) is one of the high ranking Yakuza members. Sonny Chiba no, why are you in this shit fest?! You are so much better than this! Why Sonny why!?

Anyway, Kamata tells Takashi that there is a discrepancy in the books and that Han is cheating Takashi out of money. So naturally, Takashi and his crew decide to confront Han, Sean and Neela about this and they embark on a high speed chase. Of course everything goes to shit and Sean and Neela get away, but Han is not so lucky...in fact he dies in the crash.

"MR. MIYAGI...I mean HAN! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So after Han's death, Neela and Sean head back to Sean's place. Of course Takashi stops by there to take Neela and kill Sean but Sean's dad for once takes an interest in his kid and intervenes. Of course Neela decides to volunteer and go with Takashi. Having dealt with Sean's shit for the last time, his dad tells him to pack his bags and leave at once, but Sean convinces his dad to let him stay and at least make things right.

So Sean meets up with Twinkie (again what the fuck is up with the name) and returns the money that Han had laundered from Takashi to Kamata and offers to challenge Takashi to an "honor race" in which whoever loses, leaves the country. The race of course is on a mountain pass, which Takashi has the advantage because he knows the layout. Of course Sean and his crew need to fix up Sean's Dad's 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback for the race so you know what this means, Montage Time!

So after the race ends, Sean wins and Takashi loses in which he has shamed his elders and his pants. Takashi leaves the country, Neela goes back to Sean and everything end well.

Fast forward to a few weeks later, Sean becomes the new Drift King and who comes riding along next to him is none other than Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel from the first film) who says that Han was a close friend of his back in the U.S. The film ends with another fucking race.

"Ok where's my paycheck for this fucking cameo?"

So how does this movie stack up? It's stupid, pointless and predictable. The characters are stereotypes, the plot is over-formulaic, nothing is ever explained, there were so many fucking montages and this is a rip off of The fucking Karate Kid!

Of course this franchise is shit to begin with and quite frankly I do not understand the popularity of these films. My only guess is that this is the closest thing to porn that gear heads can get to since they do not have Top Gear here in America. Not to mention the way the women in this film are portrayed in all of these films. They are either "the prize," "the whore," or "the other guy."

Good God, I'd never thought I would encounter a remake of The Karate Kid with Drift Racing in Tokyo.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm your Movie Bitch...because somebody has to be!

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!



Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Movie Bitch Reviews: Despicable Me

Hello Everyone!

Here is my review for Despicable Me. I hope you all enjoy it!

If you want to see more of my stuff, please feel free to check out The Movie Bitch Blog:
http://maricruzmoviebitch.blogspot.com/

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