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Battylands


To The Wonder The only thing left for me to ponder in Terence Malick’s latest meditation on preponderance, To The Wonder (a contemporary love story of an Okie and a Eurotrashy ditz with happy feet from Paris), is where exactly in France is that fairytale castle surrounded by mushy sandy waters? And why the fuck would they settle down in the badlands of Oklahoma instead?

To The Wonder

Well, turns out that castle is Mont Saint-Michel, in the lower region of Normandy that dates back to the 10th century. But as far as to why they (or anyone for that matter) would want to live in a newly built two story house in Oklahoma without a fucking washer and dryer? Golly, I still couldn’t tell you. And that’s probably the most enduring mystery of the film. If I had to guess, it had something to do with Ben Affleck’s job there – walking around with a picnic cooler surveying the land for god knows what when he’s not busy chasing his wife (Olga Kurylenko) through wheat fields and smelling buffalo chips. Which is probably why everyone is so loopy and dizzy and suffers from lymes disease. That being said – as if we didn’t already know Olga is not the greatest actress, we now know she sure shit can’t fucking dance either. And while Ben may not be the greatest dancer he sure shit can’t fucking act without his beard – besides the scene where he wears a lampshade on his head.  To be fair, Malick finds more poetry in the visual silence of sheer curtains blowing in the wind and adults jumping up and down on beds then good old fashion dialogue.

To The Wonder

After watching those boring ass lovebirds, Rachel McAdams is definitely a breath of fresh air as she radiates like she were in a Carhartt/Sundance catalogue, unconvincingly playing a ranch handler with not a speck of dirt or grime on her. Still, not a bad rebound for Ben.

To The Wonder

As for priest Javier Bardem – he is either mumbling to himself or to Jesus. I’m not really sure. But the scene when Olga goes to him for confession is truly a revelation, in that it’s so private that there’s no way I could tell you what was revealed and neither could Malick. You just have to go see the movie yourself to come up with your own conclusions but I’m telling y’all right now your time will be better spent at the local laundromat instead of watching them do theirs.

To The Wonder

Considering Roger Ebert gave this a thumbs up you have to wonder if he knew this was likely his last review and therefore took comfort in the Javier’s sermon of “God to the left, God to the right…” – whereas I’d have to give it a thumbs down because all I see are clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right and here I am stuck in the middle. But till then Roger, please save me an aisle seat…

To The Wonder

To The Wonder

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Oblivious


oblivion

The only reason I’m rating Oblivion a high 20% is for those snazzy velcro hightop sneakers Tom Cruise (Jack Harper) sports throughout – minus the scene he tosses them to go skinny dipping with his “effective” partner Victoria (Andrea Louise Riseborough) in their futuristic glass pool high atop the clouds safe from the toxic air below. Because as far as I can gather from Tom’s opening monotone narration – many moons ago there was some kind of war of the worlds shit in which space invaders not only decimated the Earth but even went so far as to destroy our moon! Now folks, that’s just plain rude. Who would do such a thing and why? Well that’s exactly what we have to figure out as Jack Harper grapples with his inner demons, allegiance, and ultimately his identity. (Sort of like how in real life Tom has to grapple with his homosexuality by suppressing it with his devotion to Scientology.)

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Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with all the loopholes within this sci-fi movie but there are a few things which I just can’t dismiss lightly – Like how come when Tom is flying that high tech contraption he’s not wearing a fucking helmet? Forget about knocking your head about, but how about the radioactive air he has to breathe? And why would Victoria not wash her fucking hands after being completely wigged out over touching a toxic flower before preparing dinner? And when Jack Harper plays Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On you can clearly see him drop the needle on the vinyl to the first song on the side when that song is actually the third on side 2!! And lastly, I guess the bit about the moon.

And you know what else is gay? Creating something so trite, obvious, and especially unoriginal. As if we haven’t seen glass houses, underwater sex sessions, human pods, clones, underground bands of survivors or those Portal 2 drones before – we have to be subjected to more lame lovestruck Sleepless in Seattle and Love Affair goobers atop the Empire State Building.

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“How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?” Max Bialystock

METER

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Quantum Full of Poo

Quantum of Solace Poster

(What you see is what you get)

Quantum of Solace begins where Casino Royale left off not only as an inevitable inferior sequel, the first of it’s kind in the Bond franchise storied history, but also leaves us desperately hoping that this is not part of an epic trilogy!

Doomed from the start we find Quantum of Solace to be directed by Bond newbie Marc Forster, whose credits include The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland, and Monster’s Ball, as he brings a new kind of tears to audiences tortured from the start with lamest deflated car chase sequence followed by the flattest title song and credits as they float amidst a montage of women with sand in their crotch, then omitting the traditional signature gun barrel shot that is saved instead for the end of the movie as a last resort climax, being it’s only solace.

Though Daniel Craig has not lost an ounce of his muscular physique, his portrayal definitely loses the notoriously cavalier attitude and rapier wit associated with Bond that can only be attributed and blamed on the screenwriters who have concocted a story of a mournful meathead who seeks revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd who actually killed herself anyway by drowning. Regardless, in this movie we follow Bond tracking down the secret organization known as Quantum who not only was responsible in extorting Vesper but also has some half-baked idea to blockade Bolivia’s water supply by filtering it into massive reservoirs hidden beneath a desert they will soon acquire. Whatever happened to world conquest and domination? With Mathieu Amalric casted as the weakest Bond villain, Dominic Greene, (hardly your imposing nefarious looking nemesis but rather a Roman Polanski lookalike) it is no wonder that we are subjected to such a pussy driven plot. Seriously, he was more terrifying with his one eye as a paralyzed bedridden stroke victim in The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

But does the inclusion of a car chase, a boat chase, a propeller plane chase, and sky diving chase make up for this lack of suspense? Nope. After four edited to pieces, shit chase scenes one can’t help wishing for some eye drops as they try to sift through the cuts to find some action. But while the movie not only lacks action it also is missing, as the credits and movie posters foreshadow, Bond’s mojo. He barely gets the chance to take us down to Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) before she is tarred, revealing only a weak attempt at a homage to Goldfinger  (And all I really wanted to see her sixth finger nub!) As for leading lady Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), whom Bond never even shags probably because of the severe burn marks on her back or maybe because he is already familiar with her sex tape, not only needs acting lessons but also is in need of a shower.

Quantum of Solace Olga

What also is lacking from Quantum is it’s traditional ritualistic familiarity of events such as the appearances of the latest high tech gadgets introduced by Q, the naughty flirtations with Miss Moneypenny, and the villian’s lair and impending doom with a touch of romance and intrigue, and especially the character of M (Judi Dench) whom is not nearly a cold enough bitch – as we are constantly reminded with lingering closeups of Judi’s wrinkly sympathetic face that she really is a softy inside. 

Judi Dench Quantum of Solace

I think it’s safe to say that Highschool Musical 3 and Twilight have just as much drama and more action as they continue to lead at the box office.

Batty Bond

 

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