Skip to main content

Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Posts about movies (old posts, page 2)

Life imitates art. Not too good art, though.

Imag­ine the most ridicu­lous­ly over-the-­top cliche movie about sport­s. Here are some of the in­gre­di­ents, and how last night´s match be­tween Bo­ca and Riv­er com­pares in a 1/10 scale.

  • A bit­ter ri­­val­ry

    9 This is a cen­­tu­ry-old ri­­val­ry, be­tween teams from the same city, who hap­pen to be the most suc­cess­­ful and pop­u­lar teams in the coun­try.

    Trust me, this is se­ri­ous stuff. So se­ri­ous, that for se­cu­ri­­ty rea­­son­s, it was the first time ev­er in ar­­gen­­tine foot­ball his­­to­ry that the vis­it­ing team´s fans were for­bid­­den from at­­tend­ing the match.

  • It must be an im­­por­­tant match

    9 It was a do-or-die af­­fair, it be­ing elim­i­­na­­to­ry home­­-and-­­away, but it was on­­ly the semi­­fi­­nal of the most im­­por­­tant club tour­­na­­ment pos­si­ble for them, the Lib­er­­ta­­dores Cup (S.Am. equiv­­a­­lent of the Cham­pi­ons League).

    It would have been bet­ter for this to be the fi­­nal, but there has nev­er been a same-­­coun­try fi­­nal in this tour­­na­­ment (that I know), so this was as good as it get­s.

  • A clear favourite

    5 The first match (at Bo­­ca´s home) was won by Bo­­ca 1-0, but Riv­er could have won 2-1 or so, had they been even slight­­ly lucky (Bo­­ca´s coach is rec­og­nized as the luck­­i­est man on earth by some).

    Riv­er had kicked Bo­­ca´s butt all over the field a few weeks ago, play­ing ten times bet­ter, but...

    Bo­­ca has River´s num­ber, and has had it for ten years or so. Bo­­ca has won close, and has won clear, has won at home and away, has won in lo­­cal, in­­ter­­na­­tion­al and friend­­ly match­es, has won de­serv­ing­­ly and has won by sheer luck. But they have won al­­most ev­ery­thing for 5 or 6 years, in­­­clud­ing three of these cup­s, and two In­­ter­­con­ti­­nen­­tal cups against the Cham­pi­ons League win­n­er, so... noone was go­ing to say Riv­er was a clear favourite. At al­l.

  • A hos­tile en­vi­ron­­ment

    9 The largest hos­tile crowd in ar­­gen­­tine foot­ball his­­to­ry. 66000 chan­t­ing, blood­­thirsty Riv­er fan­s. And in the mid­­dle of it, about 20 Bo­­ca play­er­s, coach­es and as­­sis­­tants. Scary stuff.

    It was­n´t Brazil-U­ruguay in 1950, but then again, there has nev­er been any­thing like Brazil-U­ruguay in 1950 (and nev­er could be again).

  • Ridicu­lous sus­pense.

    9 Bo­­ca came 1-0 ahead. Riv­er scored, evening the ag­­gre­­gate.

    Bo­­ca play­er ejec­t­ed. Things look grim for them.

    Then Riv­er lost two play­ers in the same play (one ejec­t­ed, one in­­jured, no re­­place­­ments avail­able).

    In the 89th min­ute, Bo­­ca scores. They are now ahead.

    In the 94th min­ute(!) Riv­er scores, all even. Pe­nal­ties.

    The first 8 pe­nal­ties are scored. It comes down to the last pe­nal­­ty for each team. The riv­er play­er mis­s­es! It all is now in the hands of a sin­­gle play­er, and a sin­­gle kick. Which brings us to...

  • The un­­like­­ly hero

    9 The guy is 21. He is not even a reg­u­lar sub­­sti­­tute, but all the reg­u­lar pe­nal­­ty shoot­ers are for some rea­­son un­able to take them, they have been ejec­t­ed, or re­­placed, or in­­jured.

    So, he takes it, he scores, Bo­­ca win­s, and 66000 looks as if some­one has played a evil trick with their gut­s.

Man, I love this game.

Lost in Translation, Duplex, Something's gotta give

I saw these three movies in the last 48 hours or so.

Du­plex: it's dum­b, dark, and the end cheat­s.

Some­thing's got­ta give: If I were Di­ane Keaton, I would have tak­en Keanu. If I were Jack Nichol­son, I would­n't have dumped the daugh­ter. How­ev­er, the con­cept is cool, and Di­ane looks damn good.

Now, the sight of Jack Nichol­son's butt was com­plete­ly un­nec­es­sary. Now I am so self­-­con­scious I am go­ing to buy a robe. I nev­er imag­ined any­one could look so bad, and I need to make a habit of hid­ing my body be­fore it all falls down.

Lost in trans­la­tion: I want to mar­ry Scar­let Jo­hansson's char­ac­ter. I doubt Mrs. Jo­hans­son her­self would be half as much fun, al­though she is ob­vi­ous­ly just as pret­ty.

On the oth­er hand, I want to say, make it Sun­to­ry time. Now, to the right, with in­ten­si­ty. More Roger Moore!

If you have not seen it, the above para­graph makes no sense. If you did: I want to be him, too. On­ly younger. And mar­ried to her.

I quite liked the movie, even if my date did­n't (she says, and she is right, noth­ing hap­pens in it). Had the movie had a plot, it would be amaz­ing. What is there is good enough it even sur­vives the plot­less­ness as good.

I sug­gest Jer­ry Bruck­heimer hires Sofia Cop­po­la. Al­though he has the worst imag­in­able taste in di­rec­tors (the wrong Scott broth­er! Michael Bay!), he re­quires all his movies to have a be­gin­ning, a mid­dle, and an end­ing, and that the end­ing be dif­fer­ent from the be­gin­ning.

So, if Jer­ry wants to be­come a We­in­stein-­like fel­low, and he keeps those re­quire­ments, eas­es up on the ex­plo­sion­s, and forces Sofia to hire a writ­er (if at all pos­si­ble, the one who wrote "Ac­tion!" with Jay Mohr?), man, that is go­ing to be an ac­tu­al movie, in­stead of just 2 hours of film.

Oh, you may say, Rober­to is crazy! Sofia Cop­po­la is art­sy! Bruck­heimer is crass!. There is such a thing as too art­sy, and def­i­nite­ly, there is such a thing as too crass, but, sur­prise! There is such a thing as not art­sy enough, and, worse of al­l, not crass enough.

Nowa­days, movies fall ei­ther on one side or the oth­er, ex­cept for some film­s, very few, van­ish­ing­ly few. I pro­pose ex­ogamy, be­cause the in­breed­ing of the art­sy and the crass tribes is killing them.

Com­ing soon (not re­al­ly): why Kiarosta­mi should di­rect a Taranti­no scrip­t.

Double feature at the Electric

Some­times, on sat­ur­day af­ter­noon­s, I am a cheap bas­tard. When that hap­pen­s, I go to the Elec­tric.

The Elec­tric is an old cin­e­ma, that shows two movies (usu­al­ly 6-­month old re­leas­es) for $4.50.

That´s 4.50 as in pe­sos. Rough­ly 1.5 Eu­ros. As I said, on sat­ur­day ater­noon­s, I am a cheap bas­tard.

The pro­gram­mer there is prob­a­bly a crotch­ety old geezer who has seen 89000 movies in fi­ty years, but the pair­ings he comes up with are a thing o beau­ty.

Right now, you can see Se­cret Win­dow with Tak­ing Lifes. Or Hi­dal­go with a Den­zel Wash­ing­ton movie. Or Start­sky & Hutch with Mas­ter and Com­man­der (!?!)

I chose the first menu, armed my­self with a ra­dioac­tive-yel­low drink called Pome­lo Neuss, and pre­pared to see Mr. Depp get weird.

I had read rather bad re­views of both movies, and was sur­prised to like both of them.

Se­cret Win­dow

I must con­fess I have read al­most ev­ery­thing Stephen King pub­lished (noone has read ev­ery­thing he pub­lishe, in­clud­ing him), and liked, when younger, a lot of it. I had­n´t read this one, though.

It´s a un­usu­al movie. The open­ing through-the-mir­ror shot is damn good, and makes lots of sense in the end.

Depp is a dis­turbed in­di­vid­u­al. Here he plays a crazed per­son.

Tak­ing lives

It fea­tures An­geli­na Jolie´s naked breast­s. That´s an au­to­mat­ic two-s­tar movie at least. It´s al­so not a bad thriller, al­though it has enough plot holes to drive a truck in­to them.

The dou­ble fea­ture (spoil­er­s)

Amaz­ing­ly, both movies are about the same sub­jec­t. In one, a man con­tains two soul­s, in an­oth­er, a soul so dis­likes his hu­man ves­sel, it re­for­mats it in­to oth­ers through mur­der.

The clin­i­cal term for the first case is schizophre­ni­a, for the sec­ond there is­n´t one be­cause it on­ly ex­ists in fic­tion.

The idea of a per­son loathing him­self so much he wish­es to be­come some­one else ap­pears for ex­am­ple in Les Mis­er­ables. Here we have Jean Val­jean as a psy­cho.

Jean Val­jean is shown good­ness by a priest, and de­cides to be­come good, and he be­comes a re­spect­ed man, then he is shown evil in law, and be­comes a fa­ther, and a fugi­tive.

Here, the as­sas­sin is shown con­tempt by his moth­er, and be­comes a her­mit crab, changin hu­man shell­s, be­com­ing some­one else for a few years at a time, over and over.

And Javert is played by Jolie, look­ing damn good in dis­crete white blous­es and black suits (she should keep dress­ing that way).

In Se­cret Win­dow Depp is ha­rassed by him­self, and ends the movie by em­brac­ing his oth­er per­son­al­i­ty, and is, in the end, thor­ough­ly hap­py with him­self.

As you can see, the char­ac­ters in both movies are vic­tims of self­-es­teem is­sues, of dif­fer­ent kind­s.

I am writ­ing this on a pub­lic com­put­er, and the key­board is stick­y. In par­tic­u­lar, the d of­ten fail­s. So, some let­ters may be miss­ing.

Troy (not McClure)

I saw Troy last night. I live close to the At­las the­ater, which sports the largest screen in South Amer­i­ca (although, sad­ly, no THX sound), which is well suit­ed for this kind of thing.

And it is a tra­di­tion­al movie. It´s like Cleopa­tra, on­ly the girl can´t act and the guy is not a mid­dle-aged al­co­holic.

I think Ebert got it right when he said that the ac­tors are try­ing to make their char­ac­ters hu­man, and it´s coun­ter­pro­duc­tive be­cause the char­ac­ters in the Il­i­ad are not hu­man, they are archetype­s.

It´s a damn greek tragedy! The whole idea of greek tragedy is men with­out will be­ing thrown in­to their fates by evil god­s. I won­der how the greeks man­aged to stay re­li­gious con­sid­er­ing all their deities seem to be bas­tard­s.

On the oth­er hand, Ba­na as Hec­tor was ok. He has that what the hell am I do­ing here look a char­ac­ter in tragedy would have if he at the same time was aware of what he is do­ing, thinks it´s nuts but can´t stop it, which I think is how any­one would look if the gods forced him to go fight hand to hand against a guy that´s sup­posed to be in­vul­ner­a­ble, while a thou­sand nice archers who are on your side just look.

What dis­tract­ed me most dur­ing the movie is how mod­ern mil­i­tary ideas made the lo­gis­tics of the troy siege in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. For ex­am­ple, the land­ing is like a Delta-­Day: D-­Day with greek­s. Sav­ing Pri­vate Achilles. Any half-not-brain­dead guy would de­cide that maybe it was a bet­ter idea to lad a few kilo­me­ters away in a non-de­fend­ed coast, take over a few farm­s, what­ev­er. But no, they land smack in front of Troy. The boats are rammed in­to the beach. You know what that does to a flat-bot­tom greek boat? (I am as­sum­ing they were flat-bot­tomed, or it´s just too stupid).

Those things were pret­ty frag­ile. And if the tide was low, they would flood and sink as soon as it went up.

There is a rea­son why the am­phibi­ous troop trans­port ship was in­vent­ed: you can´t do that with reg­u­lar seago­ing ship­s.

Then they don´t sur­round Troy. So, any Tro­jan that felt like flee­ing could use a sec­ondary gate and walk away from it al­l.

Oh, and just for kick­s, the greek camp is at the bot­tom of a hill.

Not to men­tion massed armies run­ning at each oth­er over hun­dreds of me­ter­s. March­ing was in­vent­ed be­cause if you do that, you are al­ready tired when you get there. And fight­ing with bronze-age sword, spear and shield is a tire­some job!

Ok, I ad­mit that 50000 greeks walk­ing would­n´t be so cin­e­mato­graph­i­cal­ly ex­cit­ing, but hey, I am just whin­ing here.

Oh, and it seems the siege last­ed all of a month. I won­der why the tro­jans did­n*t just sleep through it. Ok, they are sup­posed to be mo­ron­s, with the horse and all that.

But don´t get me wrong, I have seen much worse movies, like re­turn of the lob­ster man or eyes wide shut. It´s just that Homer (or as he is known in Hades, "Spin­ning Guy") wrote a rather fun epic po­em, and it re­al­ly did­n´t need all that much tam­per­ing.

Kill Bill Vol. 2

As I men­tioned, I saw Kill Bill Vol. 2.

While I en­joyed Vol­ume 1's child­ish no­tion of grandeur by ac­cu­mu­la­tion, I must con­fess I was wait­ing for that emo­tion­al mo­men­t, like S. Jack­son's mono­logue at the Din­er in Pulp Fic­tion.

Or the whathe­heck mo­ment like the death of Robert de Niro's char­ac­ter in Jack­ie Brown.

Or even the goofy quar­ter-­pounder-with­-cheese mo­men­t.

But all I got in Vol­ume 1 was Uma Thur­man in the slick Bruce Lee out­fit, blood, Yakuza­s, and the brass of RZA­'s ver­sion of "Bat­tle with­out hon­our".

Which is not ex­act­ly a small amount of things to get, don't get me wrong, but not quite what I wished for.

And much lat­er I start­ed read­ing the re­views for Vol­ume 2, and it seemed a more QT flick, and I like those, and I saw it.

And it's good. And it has the quater-­pounder-with­-cheese mo­ment (Su­per­man), and the whatthe­heck mo­ment (Elle's), and it has the emo­tion­al mo­ment (a lot of them), even if they are dark­er, and let's face it, ba­si­cal­ly evil.

So, there's a lot I liked. I was even hap­py about David Car­radine's part (although his lisp drove me nuts (and I don't mean LISP (I mean he says yeth in­stead of yes))).

BTW: I read on a news­pa­per an ex­cerpt from an in­ter­view he did for Un­cut mag­a­zine... he's one crazy guy.

The Pai Mei stuff is hi­lar­i­ous. Michael Mad­sen's Budd is awe­some. The very pic­ture of moral deca­dence wrapped around the nas­ti­est lit­tle-broth­er syn­drome ev­er.

So, I ac­tu­al­ly quite loved this movie. It's not my favourite QT flick ev­er (that's Pulp Fic­tion, then Jack­ie Brown), but it's a hell of a lot bet­ter than al­most ev­ery­thing else I saw in the last year or so.

All I want to know is what hap­pened to Sofie Fa­tale (cheesi­est name ev­er for a french char­ac­ter), and I would be hap­py as a clam.

Contents © 2000-2024 Roberto Alsina