Monday, March 30, 2015

Wknd Box Office: Get Hard, A Girl Like Her, The Salvation, Wild Tales

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Get Hard, A Girl Like Her, The Salvation, Wild Tales

By Debbie Schlussel
Can’t really recommend any of the new movies in theaters, this weekend. (I did not see “Home.”)


* “Get Hard“: Absolutely awful. This disgusting, racist (anti-White), Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart vehicle, is a complete waste of time. And, for a comedy, it’s remarkably unfunny. I laughed about 3-5 times. Mostly it’s just gross, unless your idea of funny is Will Ferrell trying to practice oral sex on a gay stranger in a bathroom stall–complete with dangling penis front and center on the screen. If this is what now defines comedy, count me out. Ditto for at least two scenes of Will Ferrell’s naked butt. Um, no thanks. No thanks, also, to the numerous scenes of topless women gratuitously inserted “just ‘cuz.”
The sub-text–no, actually, there’s nothing “sub” about it; it’s quite overt–of this movie is that White people are rich, privileged, and racist against Blacks. Oh, and don’t forget that White people are pigs with money who callously preach “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” to Black people (and that advice is wrong because . . . ?) and assume that all Black men have served time in prison.

Ferrell plays a very rich higher-up at an investment fund. He’s engaged to marry the boss’ daughter and lives the charmed life. He lives in a mansion in Bel-Air, is building a larger mansion, and has a full staff of Hispanic servants. Everything is handed to him and he doesn’t seem to work too hard. But, then, he’s accused of a Madoff-style scam and defrauding lots of average people of their retirement money. He’s innocent and fights the charges, but gets ten years in prison. So, with 30 days until he’s due to report to San Quentin, he hires Kevin Hart, the guy who washes his expensive car, to train him and get him in shape for survival as a White guy in prison. Hart has never been in prison, but Ferrell, being your “typical” White person (in the movie’s eyes), assumes that Hart, being a Black man, has served prison time. So, Hart, desperate for cash to pay to move his family to a better neighborhood so his daughter can go to a better school, assumes the role and agrees to do the job for $30,000.
Get it? The Black guy is a decent, smart, hard-working man working hard and struggling to get his nuclear family (a wife, one daughter) a better life. The White man is a racist idiot who doesn’t work hard, has lots of naked sex with his hot fiancee in front of his minority servants, and has had an easy life. Fiction that could’ve been written by Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. Blah, blah, blah.
Hart consults his cousin (played by real-life recurring prisoner and rapper T.I.), a gangsta resident of South Central L.A., for advice on how to get Ferrell into shape. But after weeks of trying to train Ferrell how to fight people and be tough, he finally tells Ferrell to learn how to give oral sex in order to avoid being anally raped in prison, so they go to a gay restaurant where Ferrell picks a random gay man and tries to practice oral sex on him (the aforementioned bathroom stall scene). Yes, this is what passes for a movie in 2015 America.
In the end, Hart is Ferrell’s only friend and helps him prove his innocence and avoid jail time.
As I watched this movie, I thought of the story of James Robertson, a Detroit man who worked hard and walked 21 miles to and from his factory job every day, just to make ends meet on a meager two hours of sleep each night. I thought about how Robertson finally got a car and $350,000 in donations online to get a better life, all because a White investment adviser befriended Robertson and got the story into the Detroit media, and all because a White college student set up the online GoFundMe endeavor. I thought about all the mostly White people who donated the money to this man, the White-owned car dealership that gave Robertson a free car, and the White advisory team which is working gratis to advise Robertson and manage and invest his new-found wealth.
That’s an inspiring story I would love to see on film–a hard-working Black man helped by an army of good, decent White people. But you’ll never see that on the silver screen. It doesn’t fit Hollywood’s narrative of race in America in 2015.
Instead, we get this garbage.
Watch the trailer . . .

* “A Girl Like Her“: I’m not sure if this “Made in Michigan” movie was funded by the Michigan taxpayers via the Michigan film tax credits. But I certainly hope not. It was long, slow, and boring. While I sympathize with the character in the movie, who is constantly bullied by the popular girl and her “posse” of friends, this has been done before in two recent movies, with almost the exact same story line.
The story: a high school student tries to commit suicide, after being constantly harassed and bullied by the popular girl in school. The bullied girl is in a coma for most of the movie and then it flashes back to what happened. Done in a faux-documentary style, the movie interviews her friends and the lying, bullying popular girl. The victimized girl has a male best friend, who convinced her to wear a secret camera, disguised as a pin, to capture the bullying, and he shows the video to the woman doing the documentary.
Like I said, this same story line–about a sensitive, nice, innocent high school student being harassed and bullied by the popular kids, both in person and online, and then trying to commit suicide–has been done in two recent movies, “Disconnect” (read my review) and “Men, Women & Children” (read my review). And the outcome is almost exactly the same. This wasn’t bad, but it was too slow-moving, and I felt I’d seen it a few times before (and I had). Nothing objectionable but also nothing new here, and I wouldn’t pay ten bucks to see it.
Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Salvation“: I like a good western, so I was excited to see this. But I can’t recommend this movie at all, despite its suspense. This Danish western, which takes place in small-town America in the 1870s, is very violent, very dark, and very depressing, and there is little payoff at the end. Watching the endless, senseless, brutal, up-close, bloody killing of innocent people was painful. Watching the man at the center of it try to make things right and get the bad guys simply didn’t satisfy much, when, in movies like this, it should. The excessive violence and killing by the bad guys was long, slow, and disturbing. The payback was far too little and far too fast.
And it seems clear to me that this deeply troubling movie is a deliberately negative portrayal of the American West and Manifest Destiny by hateful Europeans. All of the Americans in this movie are either pure evil (driven, of course, by business desires for oil-rich land) or feckless cowards. The heroes are tough Danish soldier immigrants. Oh, and by the way, one of the cowardly townspeople is both a sheriff and a priest. Yet, he’s involved in aiding and abetting the evildoers in the movie. Many of the evildoers in this movie are no different than ISIS, and I think that was supposed to be the message about America, here.
The story: a Danish immigrant (Mads Mikkelsen) in a small American Western town is reunited with his beautiful wife and young son, who’ve come to live with him in the American West. Traveling in a stagecoach to their home, their two fellow stagecoach passengers terrorize them and destroy the family forever. At gunpoint, one of the men throws Mikkelsen from the stagecoach. Then, they rape his wife and kill her and the son. Mikkelsen finds them and kills them. But Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the gangster brother of one of the killed men, comes to town and tells the town’s sheriff that he and the town must find his brother’s murderer and first provide two townfolk to be killed if the murderer isn’t found by noon. It turns out that Morgan leads an outlaw gang which has terrorized the town for years. He demands exorbitant protection fees from the poor town every month.
The town’s sheriff, who is, again, also a priest, convinces an old lady and forces an amputee to be sacrificed and killed at noon. Morgan arrives and shoots them in the head, then murders a third person. He also murders others, and tells the townfolk they must turn in his brother’s murderer or he will charge them double their protection fees and kill even more people. The fearful, weak residents of the town turn Mikkelsen in to Morgan, who ties him up and leaves him outside to die, after he’s been severely beaten. But, soon, Mikkelsen’s brother shows up to rescue him, and they fight back . . . or try to. It turns out that all of the terrorizing and all the murder committed by Morgan is to acquire the land of the town and force everyone out, so that an oil company can have the valuable land.
Not worth ten bucks, not worth wasting 1.5 hours of your life you’ll never get back, not worth sitting through brutal, gratuitous, pointless violence, and not worth subjecting yourself to European filmmakers’ dark view of America when they’ve got plenty to look to in their own backyards.
This could have been a great action film in which the evildoers get theirs and things end happily. Instead, it’s just a naked snuff film. I liked Viggo-Mortensen-lookalike Mads Mikkelsen for his excellent portrayal of a man falsely accused of child abuse in “The Hunt” (read my mini-review). He’s handsome and a great actor. Mikkelsen’s very likable in this movie as well, despite the unlikability of the movie. But shame on him for taking a paycheck to participate in this violent, brutal, unnecessary propaganda.
Watch the trailer . . .

* “Wild Tales [Relatos Salvajes]“: This long, slow, boring Brazilian/Argentinian film with English subtitles is supposed to show six short stories of distressed people or stories about revenge (these were the explanations in two different descriptions of the movie I read before watching it). Normally, I would like something like this. But the stories, except maybe for the first one, were mostly slow, boring, and uninteresting. Although the ideas for the plots were intriguing, the follow-through–not so much. The first, in which passengers on a plane, all learn why they are on a flight when it is too late, is well done. The rest, not so much. Even a story about a waitress serving a mobster who destroyed her family earlier in life, isn’t, as she doesn’t want his food poisoned. I wouldn’t pay money to see this, and I’m sorry I paid two hours of my life to watch.
Watch the trailer . . .

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