Hey everyone and thanks for visiting my blog! I’ve really had an interest in creating a blog over the past few months but I don’t think I’m very good at articulating the random crap that happens in my life (and quite frankly I doubt many people would really care). So I knew I needed to focus on something that I enjoyed but could also get the readers to give their two cents on and since I’ve always loved movies I figured that would be my topic. The format of this blog will probably change somewhat over the next few months, assuming people read it. For now it will just be random movie reviews, whatever I happen to get on Netflix or go see in the theaters. In the future, though, I may put polls up to see what people would like me to review. I’m totally open for any suggestions you all may have and please feel free to comment on reviews or start up discussions about how you felt about the movie. Well, here we go…..

Monday, September 20, 2010

Raging Bull

Jake and Joey
On the outside, ‘Raging Bull’ appears to be a movie about boxing, at least that’s what I always thought, but it offers a much deeper story that really draws you in. ‘Raging Bull’ is about a man named Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro), a rising star in boxing in the 1940’s trying to work his way to getting a shot at the middleweight title. Jake is a very angry man who doesn’t seem to be able to connect with people on any meaningful level, even his relationship with his brother/manager Joey (Joe Pesci) seems tense most of the time. People are nothing but objects to Jake, the fact that he is married doesn’t stop him from courting a young girl, Vickie, whom he eventually marries after he gets rid of his current wife. Once married, Jake treats Vickie as nothing more than a servant to him. She should be doing nothing but taking care of him and thinking about him and anything he perceives as her not being 100% committed to him sends him into jealous rages.

Jake is more like an animal inside and out of the boxing ring, reacting on impulse rather than thinking things through. He doesn’t seem to have any objection to throwing a boxing match because it will get him one step closer to the title. He’s constantly accusing his wife of thinking about other men or doing things behind his back without any evidence. He beats Joey up in front of his family after his wife sarcastically told him she slept with him. These impulses lead to the dissolution of any relationship he’s had which results in him being an angrier and more depressed person. But Jake can’t seem to see, until later in the movie, that he is the cause of his own anger and depression, that he’s holding himself back professionally and personally.

Eventually, Jake does realize that he has done a lot of wrong in his life and his way of making up for that is by letting one of his boxing rivals hit him, but this doesn’t really change him. Jake goes through tough times after he retires, his wife divorces him, he’s thrown in jail and he begins a stand up comedy career in clubs that seem to get worse and worse. By the end of the movie when Jake is standing in front of a mirror practicing boxing moves and saying ‘I’m the boss’, we’re not really sure if he has changed.

I really enjoyed ‘Raging Bull’, much more than I expected. The movie really draws you in because you’re never quite sure how Jake will react to any given situation. He may punch somebody, he may cry, he may laugh, it’s a constant roller-coaster with him. It’s sad to see him bring about his own problems which eventually ruin him but it’s hard to sympathize with him because he seems so blind.

Score: 8 out of 10

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive’ is a head trip.  I remember thinking to myself that this movie feels like 4 different good stories that the writers just couldn’t finish.  So, instead of trying to complete the scripts, the writers just combined them into one long movie that just didn’t seem to fit together.  What’s interesting about ‘Mulholland Drive’ is that you’re supposed to feel this way, it isn’t supposed to make sense. 

The movie starts out with a woman in a limo being taken somewhere.  The limo makes an unexpected stop and the driver asks the woman to get out of the car, as she is getting out the limo is struck by a car racing down the street.  The woman manages to survive but has amnesia and sneaks into an empty house.  This empty house is where Betty (Naomi Watts) is headed.  It’s her aunts house and she is going to stay there while he aunt is out of town, plus she gets the chance to audition for some movie roles since her aunts house is in Hollywood.  Betty arrives to find the strange woman, who calls herself Rita because she can’t remember her name, showering in her aunt’s house.  Betty eventually gets Rita to confess that she doesn’t remember anything and Betty decides to help her piece her story together - who she is, what happened, etc. 

Want to hear the funny part?  What I described doesn’t really have anything to do with what the movie is about.  Everything I described is what the main character, whose real name is Diane (we think), is dreaming.  There is no real plot to this movie, it’s basically just a conglomeration of scenes with no real direction.  And just when you think those 4 stories I talked about are starting to come together, another scene is thrown in that blows the whole thing up.  Characters switch roles, people aren’t who you thought they were, most of the scenes didn’t really happen, maybe some of the characters never existed.  Confused yet?  Well, try watching the movie and see how you feel then. 

I get the feeling that most people who have watched this movie said they hated it.  People tend not to like movies that aren’t wrapped up in a neat little package at the end.  The fact is, ‘Mulholland Drive’ is a dream.  Dreams generally don’t make sense - they’re either totally off the wall or details are missing.  You wake up knowing you had a dream and vaguely know what happened in that dream, but can’t describe what that dream was about.  ‘Mulholland Drive’ captures that feeling perfectly.

Just a note to anyone who is going to watch the movie:  the acting throughout most of the movie is bad on purpose, so don’t turn it off half way through because of it.  Anyone who has already seen the movie probably knows what I’m talking about.

Score: 8 out of 10