Showing posts with label When Things Fall Apart (Book Review). Show all posts
Showing posts with label When Things Fall Apart (Book Review). Show all posts

Friday, September 25, 2015

"The Perfect Guy" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Perfect Guy" and DVDs "Leviathan" and "A Little Chaos." The Book of the Week is the inspirational "When Things Fall Apart."  I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project," "Revenge of a Kabuki Actor."]

The Perfect Guy

After a woman breaks up with her long time boyfriend because he doesn't want to get married, she meets a guy who seems "to good to be true."  You know what they say about something that is "too good to be true?"  Right.

Whenever a movie has a title like "The Perfect Guy," "The Perfect Husband," "The Perfect Roommate," "The Perfect Step Dad," "The Perfect Girlfriend, "The Perfect Dog," know that he, she or it are anything but.

Sanaa Latham plays Leah, a professional woman, who lives with her boyfriend, Dave (the hunky Morris Chestnut, who will soon be starring on TV in the new show "Rosewood.").  Dave is marriage shy and when it finally occurs to Leah that her biological clock is ticking and this guy ain't gonna marry her, she kicks him out.

Soon, too soon, she has a few encounters with Carter (the not as hunky Michael Ealy).  He is a gentleman of the highest order and seems to perceive Leah's needs.  They also have a steamy sex encounter in a nightclub that seems to seal the deal and when Leah introduces him to her girlfriends and they pronounce him "the perfect guy," Leah is hooked.

But then Carter begins to show his true colors.

Ladies.  One thing I learned from this film.  It's a major red flag when your boyfriend beats the crap out of a guy who is just talking to you and admiring your car.

Leah doesn't like that much either and decides this "perfect guy" isn't so perfect.

Let the stalking begin.  And in case we hadn't already figured out what was going to happen, a nice big coyote passes across the screen.

Leah may be a smart professional woman but she doesn't seem to understand the concept of stalking very well.

When you are being stalked, I would think it's not a good idea to park your car all the way across an underground parking garage from the elevator so that when you are walking to your car late at night all alone in a deserted underground parking garage you are not able to get your butt into your car as soon as possible. And then I have to ask, if you are being stalked, what the hell are you doing working late and going to your car alone at night? 

Likewise, when you know your psycho boyfriend knows where you hide your spare key to your house, why in hell don't you hide it somewhere else so he can't get into your house when you are not home and suck on your toothbrush?

I had to pinch myself halfway through this thing to remind myself I was sitting in a movie theatre and not at home watching a Lifetime Movie.

This plot: girl meets "the perfect guy,' "perfect guy" turns into the boyfriend from hell, "perfect guy" stalks girl and tries to derail her life, girl says, "Hell no!" and the stalker becomes the stalkee.

Sanaa, Chestnut and Ealy are all perfectly fine actors and the production values are good, but this movie has been done a million times before in various guises.

I actually think Dave (Chestnut) should have been the "perfect guy" stalker and Carter (Ealy) the "good" boyfriend. I thought Carter was creepy from the get go and would have never painted him as "The Perfect Guy."  Now, Morris Chestnut.  That's a "Perfect Guy!" Mm-mm-mm!

Rosy the Reviewer says...if this story sounds like something that interests you (which means you never saw any of the above mentioned movies that start with "The Perfect...") at least save your money and wait for it to come out on DVD.

Some Movies You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

***Now out on DVD***

Leviathan (2014)

In a Russian coastal town, a man tries to stop the local mayor from seizing his property.
Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov) is an auto shop owner in a barren part of Russia.  He is married and living on a nice piece of property on the water with his wife and son.  His wife, Lilya (Elena Lyadova), is not the mother of his son, Romka (Sergey Pokhodaev) and Romka does not like his step mom.
Kolya is part of a court case where the mayor of the town is trying to seize Kolya's land and home so he enlists the help of a friend, Pasha (Aleksey Rozin), who is a lawyer, to help him fight the case.
There is a scene where one of the judges reads the details of the case.  She reads it in a fast monotone that shows the cold-heartedness and bureaucracy that Kolya is dealing with.  It doesn't hurt that we also keep seeing scenes of barren landscapes and ice.
When the mayor wins the case, he decides to pay Kolya a visit on his way home so he can gloat. Both Kolya and the mayor are drunk.  When Kolya and his lawyer put in a complaint to the police, it's Kolya who is arrested.
Life doesn't get any better for Kolya as Lilya and Pasha get it on.  And Lilya's and Romka's relationship is not helped by the fact that he sees Lilya and Pasha having sex.
"Leviathan" is a biblical term for a sea monster and the bureaucracy shown in this film is the "monster" in question, a frightening, Kafkaesque world.  Our Libertarians in the U.S. think they have it bad. They should see this film.  Even the church is corrupt. This movie makes you thank you lucky stars for the freedoms we enjoy.
The message here is not a happy one and seems to be, resign yourself to your fate.  You can't win against the harsh powers that be and even the church is no comfort.
Directed by Andrey Avyagintsev, this film was nominated for an Oscar for 2015's Best Foreign Language Film and won the Golden Globe.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a grim and relevant reminder that not everyone in the world can enjoy the freedoms we have. 

A Little Chaos (2014) 

Two landscape artists meet and fall in love while creating a garden at Versailles for Louis XIV.

Kate Winslet plays Sabine De Barra, a female landscape architect. She comes to the attention of Louis the XIV (Alan Rickman), who is in the midst of building Versailles.  Sabine is invited to Court and it is apparent she is not accustomed to Court Life but, nevertheless, she is embraced by the Palace Court as the next new thing and Louis hires her to build a water cascade for the garden at Versailles. She is also a widow, haunted by the death of a child.  

In the course of her work, Sabine meets Andre played by Matthias Schoenaerts, who played a thug to great effect in the wonderful film "The Drop"  but who now appears to be making his mark as a romantic lead (he was a love interest in the most recent "Far from the Madding Crowd"). This is basically a "meet cute" love story under the guise of a feminist landscape architect trying to make her mark in the Court of Louis XIV.

The film starts slowly, has some good moments between Rickman and Winslet, and if you stick with it, you will find out why Sabine was a widow and what happened to her child.  But you might not care enough to hang in there.

This costume drama is beautiful to look at but unfortunately failed to engage me.  It's good when Rickman is on screen and Winslet is always good, though here she seemed distracted and the story plods. 

I am guessing Winslet was pregnant or post pregnant during the making of this film as she is zaftig to say the least and didn't bare her breasts, which she almost always does in movies.  There was a sex scene between Winslet and Schoenaerts which was welcome but too little too late. 

Written and directed by Rickman, there was just something missing here.  It felt like a longer film that was cut with a hatchet. The film looked lovely. The set design and costuming captured the gritty side of what it must have been like in the 17th century as everyone has a sort of shabby chic look.  But the story failed to engage.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like costume films that are beautiful to look at with excellent performances and an original plot, you might like this, but for me it didn't quite hit the mark.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

291 to go!


An Actor's Revenge AKA "Revenge of a Kabuki Actor" (1963)


While touring in a kabuki troupe, female impersonator Yokinojo sees three men in the audience who drove his parents to suicide so he decides to seek revenge.
Yokinojo (renowned Japanese kabuki actor Kazuo Hasegawa,) cooly and calmly murders those who wronged him, all the while being observed by the thief, Yamitaro, also played by Hasegawa.
Directed by Kon Ichikawa, this film is a remake of a 1935 film that amazingly also starred Hasegawa and was his 300th role in a film.  It unfolds like a play, often with plain black backdrops and scenery that look fake.  It's all very stylized and theatrical, but it's supposed to be that way as Ichikawa parodies kabuki theatre.  Ichikawa started out as a cartoonist and it is evident here as the film plays like a cartoon.
"[This film] is one of the most outrageously entertaining Japanese films ever produced...Far from trying to tone down the project's improbabilities and absurdities, Ichikawa gleefully plays up everything artificial and theatrical about the story...blatantly fake sets, anomalous music, and distorted visuals.  The conventions of kabuki theatre are affectionately parodied, with ultrastyalized lighting and horizontal wipes across the CinemaScope screen."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."
Rosy the Reviewer says...this film lost me somewhere between the fake sets and the improbable story.  I will go with the outrageous part of the critique from "1001 Movies..." but not the entertaining part.  I could have done without seeing this one before I died.


***Book of the Week***

When Things Fall Apart  by Pema Chodron (2000)

Wisdom to help us go on living when our lives fall apart.
I first heard Pema Chodron when she was on Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday," one of those "TV Shows I Never Thought I Would Like" that I talked about last week.
When she talked about her life falling apart after her husband left her, I could relate to that experience.
Pema is an American devotee of Tibetan Buddhism, an ordained nun and a follower of Chogyam Trungpa.   She was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown and lived a wealthy life but after two divorces started to seek something more.  She met Chogyam Trumgpa in 1972 and studied with him until his death in 1987.
A central theme of her teachings is the belief in "shenpa," or attachment, which she interprets as "getting hooked" to negative and self-destructive responses to comments or situations that remind us of something negative in our pasts.
"Somebody says a mean word to you and then something in you tightens — that's the shenpa. Then it starts to spiral into low self-esteem, or blaming them, or anger at them, denigrating yourself. "
This book includes a series of talks Pema gave from 1987 to 1994 and her advice is both spiritual and practical.
She stresses using our pain to gain wisdom, compassion and courage; communication; and how to reverse habitual patterns.

Rosy the Reviewer says...comfort food for the soul.

Thanks for Reading!

 That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"How To Have a Successful
(and Happy)
Mother/Daughter Getaway, Pt. 1: Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque

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