Aug 23, 2013

Behind the Candelabra (2013) / My Life with Liberace

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful."

The 1970's was a better time, wasn't it; you could dress up in glitter, frill, fur and eyeliner from head to toe, but people wouldn't automatically assume that you're gay. I guess the stereotype came to be much later. The clothing was one of the best things about the movie. Some of that stuff was just outrageous, and I mean that in a good way.

Before today I didn't know anything about Liberace. All I knew was that they like to make a lot of Liberace jokes on Glee, so I assumed it had to do with something, um, eccentric. I hadn't heard about the movie either, which is kind of cool, because it hints that A-listers in gay roles is not such a big deal anymore. So I read a couple of reviews, and then decided it could be worth seeing. And it really was worth seeing, because it's nominated for like a million Emmys, and I never really had an opinion about Michael Douglas before, but now I do, and the opinion is that he's so good.

The acting is no doubt what makes the film stand out. Douglas especially, but Matt Damon, too. He portrayed a character much younger than himself, and you need more than a tremendously convincing make-up to pull that off. The make-up was kick-ass, of course, but still. They were both so shameless, and they owned the characters, even when they did the boldest scenes, put on the most embarrassing costumes and let themselves look the most unflattering. There was not even a trace of the well-known Hollywood superstars, so there's no reason to feel awkward. Bravo! And Rob Lowe with that highly attractive facelift... Scene-stealer. 

(I can't get over Cheyenne Jackson, aka the most hilarious guest star on Glee ever, being a part of the film. I just didn't expect to ever see Dustin Goolsby in a glitter tuxedo. "I'm handsome, I'm good-looking and I'm easy on the eyes. Also I'm gorgeous." Hahahahhaah... Classic pick-up line. And Daddy Hummel aka the brilliant Mike O'Malley had a small role, too! Glee invasion! By the way, keep the jokes coming, because from now on I will get them.)

I'm tired so that's all I'll say. I hope many people will see the film, and I hope Douglas and Damon will get all kinds of awards. This was a very refreshing movie, I hadn't seen anything like it in a while. A bit sweet and a bit sad and a bit funny and more than a bit outrageously and wonderfully eccentric. I'm glad this made it to cinemas in Europe, even though in the US it was only released on TV. 'Cause it's too gay. Right? Welcome to the year 2013...

P.S. I know this has to do with absolutely nothing, expect for Matt Damon's BFF, but I feel so sorry for poor Ben Affleck, because people think he'll be a terrible Batman. C'mon, just because the guy has never acted well in anything, doesn't mean he can't pull off Batman! I mean, I could pull off Batman. Just growl and speak in a ridiculously low voice and frown a lot. I bet Benny will be the best Batman ever! Not that I will see the movie, because I think Batman is stupid and Superman is lame.

Aug 22, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) / Avengers assemble, asshole

"Act like a bitch, get slapped like a bitch."

Once upon a time my ass was figuratively kicked by Kick-Ass. In other words, I really got a great kick out of the movie. And it really was damn awesome, wasn't it? I remember sometimes calling it my favorite superhero movie, next to The Avengers. 'Cause it's just great fun. The sequel continues to entertain, it makes me laugh out loud, and also cringe, because some of the stuff they pull is pretty yucky. Lawn movers and all. I don't thoroughly enjoy all the violence and the obnoxious deaths, but let's face it, Kick-Ass wouldn't be Kick-Ass if someone didn't get decapitated or their guts spilled out in a hilarious way every once in a while.

Some spoilers.

I was hoping that in a new plot twist Dave Lizewski would have decided to grow a mustache. Sadly, that didn't happen, but luckily there's always Anna Karenina. Aaron T-J has been my wet dream for quite a while, with or without mustache, and I enjoyed him again, especially during those last frames. I will be rewinding those seconds and watching them again and again once I get my hands on a DVD. When I'm forty I will totally marry a 20-year-old Aaron Johnson. It is my ultimate goal in life.

But not even the flawless abs or the awesome scale of supporting characters (from the terrifying Mother Russia and Jim Carey's Colonel to the sweet Team Remembering Peter and Christopher Mintz-Plasse who delivers every time) can outshine the true star of the film: Hit Girl/Mindy Macready/Chloƫ Grace Moretz. Hit-Girl and Katniss Everdeen should unite to be the most ass-kicking teenage girl duo ever. They'd shoot squirrels and hit President Snow square in the face, with some awesome background music. Anyway. Fangirl brain, stop. Hit-Girl was a big part of the charm of the first movie, but now she has a more significant role, and she gets more meatier stuff, and I loved it. If Kick-Ass was a Kick-Ass movie, Kick-Ass 2 was a Hit-Girl movie. High school is tough, growing up is a bitch, and fitting in is pain, even if you are only the most bad-ass girl in the universe. But even Hit-Girl isn't completely immune to boy bands.

Kick-Ass 2 might be an action comedy sequel before anything else, but it ended up delivering a very sincere message, even if it was delivered via disgusting images of spilled guts and severed penises. You can choose what to do with your life; you can choose to be a super villain, or you can choose to do good with what you have. With no power, comes no responsibility, expect that isn't true. I stole that from the first movie, but it's a cool thought. It's what the whole franchise is about: choosing to fight for good, even though you're probably going to get your ass kicked, because you have no superpowers whatsoever. "You don't have to be bad-ass to be a superhero, you just have to be brave."

By the way, Bechdel test passed! Not bad for a superhero movie. The two most bad-ass characters were female, and I seriously doubt there's ever been a more terrifying villain in anything ever than Mother Russia. And Hit-Girl, she's a total cowboy. In the end, she kisses the good-looking guy, and drives off to the sunset in a motorcycle. I want to be Hit-Girl when I grow up. And I can't wait for ChloĆ« Grace Moretz to grow up and do more amazing movies and blow everyone's minds away. But, you know, not with weapons, but with her talent. I also can't wait for Kick-Ass 3. Not to mention The Avengers sequel. Aaron T-J is going to be in it, as if there weren't enough heartbreakingly beautiful men involved in that franchise already. I'm not sure if my ovaries will be able to handle it, but I will be so pleased to give it a try.

Aug 6, 2013

Before Midnight (2013) / bitch-slapped by reality

"If you want true love, then this is it."

I didn't love Before Midnight the way I have, for years, loved Sunrise and Sunset. It's a spectacular film, of course. The script and the acting are as top-notch as ever. When it wasn't depressing, It was funny. The characters are still spectacular. So, a great movie. BUT. I know what my problems with it are.

Beware of tiny spoilers.

Sunrise was romantic. Sunset was nostalgic. Now, Midnight was realistic. Not that the other two were not; I keep going on about how REAL the story and the characters and the dialogue have always been. Yet, not many people meet each other in a train ans then spend the most significant night of their lives in Vienna. Not many people lose touch to that potential love of their lives for nine years, until meeting them again in Paris. But majority of people, at some point of their lives, are 41 and struggling to maintain their marriages. Which sucks. Why do the romantic and the nostalgic have to give way to the realistic?

It had to happen, of course. Midnight could not have been another cheerful film about discovering or rediscovering. I don't know what I expected. Less shouting and fighting, I guess? All that shouting and fighting made me depressed. I wasn't ready for that. I had just watched Sunrise and Sunset for the millionth time, and I loved the characters and I loved their relationship. Now, here they were, sick of themselves and their lives and their relationship, shouting and fighting. Whyyyyyyyyyy. It's so wrong. I mean, if a perfect couple like Jesse and Celine can't make it, how could I ever expect to make it? Right? I found myself dreading the time I'm 41. These films have always represented realistic, but ideal life for me. Now I felt bitch-slapped. And naive. I consider myself a reasonably realistic person, aware of the excessively romanticized reality that media is shoving down our throats. And yet, Before Midnight managed to pull the rug from under my apparently wide-eyed, brainwashed, romcom-consuming bubble. Reality sucks! Bring back my unrealistically happy endings!

The main reason why I know I didn't embrace the third film as much as the previous two is that I'm 24 and single. In Sunset the characters are 32, but I am still able to identify with them and their thoughts (I'd name the second film my favorite of the three). Apparently 41 is too far. I've never had any experiences even close to the ones the characters went through in the script. It felt strange and intimidating, like a sneak peak to the scary adult world waiting for me behind a decade or two. Then again, I'm sure that for someone who has been married or in a relationship with kids for several years, the film does not seem intimidating at all. They can understand what's going on much better, perhaps take it less seriously, and most importantly, identify with it all. What you don't know will scare you.

So, this is obviously a lost battle. What I need to do is accept the fact that I didn't love Before Midnight as much and as sincerely as I wanted to, hide my Sunrise and Sunset dvd's for a couple of years, sit back, grow up, get married, have kids, have marriage crises, and then watch Midnight again. Then I'll love it. And by that time Before Noon or Before Lunchtime or Before Twilight or Before Whatever will be playing in cinemas, I hope, and I'll go see it and get myself an early midlife crisis, because who knew turning fifty could be that horrifying.