November 24: The Mummy
This movie was my childhood. I don’t really recall much of my childhood besides dressing up like a witch and learning to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. I was rather proficient at that and I’ve once again taken up the hobby since I still have a fervent desire of being an Egyptologist. I can’t think of anything more wonderful (aside from being famous–there could be nothing more wonderful than that, let’s be honest.) and I’m sure that someday I’ll go back to school. In the meantime, though, I surround myself with stories and movies and dusty old tomes about the topic. I recently bought The Mummy trilogy on blu-ray and decided to refresh my memory. They were even better and more ridiculous than I remember. You surely know what the plot is about–adventure, old Egypt, revived mummies, curses, treasure, romance, camels, and humor. It is the formula for the perfect movie. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it and even after all these years–I haven’t seen it for many–I still remembered every line. It struck me as ridiculous, though, this time. Why curse Imhotep to live forever and be a plague on society and thereby doom mankind? If you just killed him, his soul would never make it past Ammit and he’d be doomed to hell. Simple. But it was an effective plot point. I also wondered why they never mounted a return expedition to Hamunaptra. It was filled with treasures and even if crushed by the collapse of the city, it would still be loaded with gold. Also, from certain angles and in certain lighting, Beni looked handsome. That was weird. [My Rating: 10/10]
November 25: The Mummy Returns
I decided to continue with my Mummy marathon as I was distinctly disinterested in doing anything else. My laziness is one of my biggest flaws. In this film, the whole crew is back plus reincarnation, a child, a giant scorpion, an army of Anubis (since when is Anubis evil? Anubis was the god of the dead and of embalming, nothing cruel. I need to cool down, I went all Egyptologist there.), and a fun new sword fight. I have no faith that the delightful daggers are historically accurate, though I have seen a hieroglyphic symbol that looked like them. Facts don’t matter in these movies, though, they’re all about fun. This one was just as fun as the first, not as good, mind you, but still a good show. In this one, our heroes have to stop Imhotep again and then the Scorpion King, too. So much to do! Of course they manage it and they all live happily ever after and we are all happy because Evie doesn’t die. Well, she does, but she comes back to life. Death is no big deal in these movies, which is why I never can understand what their worry is all about. Just say “Something something, ya-too-beh!” And the trouble is over. Another thing that blew my mind was the fact that the actress who plays Anacksunamun is also Marta from Arrested Development! Ermahgerd! [My Rating: 10/10]
November 26: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
I’m still emotionally crushed that this was the last installment in my beloved Mummy trilogy. It was good, but did not live up to the mastery of its predecessors. The first mistake was putting it in China. I don’t have any problem with mystical Chinese emperors returning from the dead, hell bent on world domination–but that’s not Imhotep, it’s not my beloved ancient Egypt. The next issue was the character of Alex. I always hate it when children show up in a series–they ruin the mood. Alex is particularly annoying here as he is a total ass. It’s never really discussed what the issue is, but there is the sensation that he and his parents don’t get along well. How this could be defies my logic. Having adventurous English parents is a dream of mine. What a jerk he is to not appreciate it. Another issue was the casting of Maria Bello as Evie. She did absolutely nothing wrong, but she wasn’t Rachel Weisz. I don’t know why she didn’t sign on for it, I do hope she wasn’t determined to do only serious roles. I hate when actors do that. She’s celebrated for The Mummy–embrace your typecasting, bitch! The plot was the usual formula: evil dead returns to destroy the world, our heroes must stop them, magic and mythological locations. It wasn’t bad at all, but it just didn’t feel right. The ending was a particularly poignant torture where they flat out say the next installment will take place in Peru. I was alright with that, but the film is not going to be made. I’m devastated. Instead, Universal is doing a complete reboot of the idea with new stories and characters. I’m hopeful. [My Rating: 6/10]
November 27: Black Widow
This picture annoys me. It starred Van Heflin who was magnificent opposite Joan Crawford in one of my favorite films, Possessed, but here he was annoying. He seemed to be trying to hard to be a tough guy. That wasn’t even his character, so I was confused by this. He stars as a successful Broadway producer who takes a friendly interest in a young writer. She asks to use his apartment to write since it’s so nice and she gets too distracted at her home. He consents and tells his very understanding wife all about the situation. Then, one day, they find her hanging in the bedroom. Thought to be a suicide at first, the death is soon ruled a murder and the producer is the only guy that had reason or ability to do it. Instead of using the legal system the way it is supposed to work, he runs away making himself look guilty of murder. Poor decision. Most of the film is about him on the run gathering evidence to discover who actually was the murderer. The clever viewer will have figured the story out well before the conclusion. It wasn’t complex at all. Lame really. [My Rating: 5/10]
November 28: Silver Linings Playbook
I didn’t have any desire to see this movie, I just wanted to go to the theater that was showing it. It’s called The Varsity and is run by the same family that opened it in the 1950s. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look just like it once did, but it’s still a nice place. Prices are reasonable and there’s never a crowd. There’s even a ghost, which was a nice touch. I went with Ma before going out to dinner at Centro’s and she swears that a man sat down beside her. She turned to look at him and he was gone. I love ghosts. If I were reviewing the theater, it would have done well, but I’m reviewing the dumb film. Dumb was an understatement. I never understood its purpose…its vision…its raison d’être. All the critics say it’s a modern classic. Bitch, please! I don’t understand critics, rarely do, I assume they’re paid by the establishment to review particular films favorably before Oscar season. Bradley Cooper plays a man who is forced to live with his parents after being removed from an asylum or whatever we’re supposed to call them these days. I still live in the 1950s. He went nuts after seeing his wife cheat on him and is put on tons of pills. He doesn’t want to take the pills and when he doesn’t, he is crazy. Too crazy. I didn’t get why he was so crazy. He meets a girl who is also crazy and they’re mean to each other, but this was flirting, I guess. I wouldn’t want to be flirted with like that. Be nice. Robert de Niro is in this, too, and he’s nuts. He flips out on Bradley’s character because he thinks he has jinxed his lottery system. Nonsense. The crazy girl and Bradley start dancing for a contest. This was a nonsensical turn of events but led to the only satisfying bit of the film. Suddenly the whole thing turns into a lame version of Footloose meets High School Musical 2, but sadly there was no music. They don’t win, but that wasn’t the point. I never did quite understand the plot. Also, everybody uses old fashioned iPods. This is 2012, why are they using devices from 2009? I wasn’t a fan. [My Rating: 2/10]
November 29: Helvetica
In ninth grade, I discovered how to install fonts on computers. My friend and I went insane and spent the majority of our class time on www.dafont.com downloading endless varieties of fonts. You can get anything! I’m still looking for a font that looks like the Chanel logo, it’s impossible. I don’t think it exists. One of my greatest finds was the font used in Martha Stewart Living magazine. You can’t understand the joy and delight that filled me with. I feel like a magazine editor whenever I use it. I was so excited when I found a documentary all about a font on Netflix. It was about Helvetica, which is boring, but I like fonts so I was eager. What pretentious drivel it turned out to be! Even I, obsessed as I am with fonts, am not idiotic enough to make the sweeping proclamations that were made in this documentary. They said that Helvetica was “scraping the crud” off of the advertisements found in magazines of the 1950s. That was stupid. Advertising used to be so lovely. Now it’s just soft core porn. They also tried to make me believe that Helvetica is a calming font and if I were I in a New York City subway stop and unable to find a toilet, if I saw a sign in Helvetica, everything would suddenly be alright. Such crap. It went on to say that the postmodernism movement was a rebellion against Helvetica! They were serious, too! The film said nothing with any substance. It just mumbled about a ridiculous nonexistent battle between convention and unconventional marketing and lifestyles. Helvetica is hella dull. [My Rating: 0/10]
November 30: Joanna Lumley – The Search For Noah’s Ark
As I’ve before mentioned, Joanna Lumley is my favorite person in the entire world.
Yes, you heard me right. She’s my favorite person in the entire world! I love everything she does from saving the Gurkhas to sailing the Nile to becoming Patsy (!!!!!) to schwapping to searching for Noah’s Ark. Everything she does is inspired and divine. I hope to whatever mythical being exists in the sky that someday our paths will cross. I’d love to travel the world with her as she films her latest magnificent documentary. That would be all of my dreams come true. We’d become friends, of course, and share vegetarian recipes. We’d go to the theater. I’d escort her to her appearances on morning television. She’d make sure I was cast in the next episode of Absolutely Fabulous as a son she knew absolutely nothing about. God, that’d be great. This documentary was yet another wild success in my eyes. The woman can do no wrong. In it, she goes on a quest to discover Noah’s Ark, or rather, the truth about if it was possible. She explores magnificent places all around the Middle East and my travel loving heart was bursting with longing. I want to wander around the streets of Istanbul and try Turkish delicacies before touring the Haggia Sophia. I want to talk to natives. I want to climb Mount Ararat. I want to go sailing on the sea. I basically just want to be her. In one segment she took us deep within the heart of the British Museum to look at several Mesopotamian tablets that spoke about an antideluvian flood with very similar stories to the biblical one we’re familiar with. I was so pleased. I’ve seen this tablet with my very own eyes!
Isn’t it amazing that what looks like a bunch of chicken pecking actually means something? Languages absolutely fascinate me. The entire documentary was a triumph and brilliant. Each documentary that she makes is magnificent. They are beautiful and celebrate humanity and our uniqueness and the love that makes the world wonderful. Joanna is never cruel or judgemental, she’s open to all beliefs and ideas and willing to listen and that makes her a delight. She’ll listen to people she doesn’t believe because she feels she ought to, and really, we all ought to. We’re all allowed to have an opinion and have the right to share it freely without being ridiculed. In the end, we never really discover anything new, other than the fact that the story is probably true somehow. But only as a moral story. Perhaps there was a flood in the Middle East at some point in the prehistoric past. It’s not important, really, if it was true. It’s important that it was passed down through the ages. There is no denying the obvious truth in this. My own research into this subject has convinced me that there was some kind of a flood (it needn’t have been the globe, man was only aware of his very limited surroundings back then (to the best of our knowledge)) in antideiluvian times–but it needn’t have been about gods or magic, it was simply about a man and his family. Give Joanna a Nobel Peace Prize. She is overqualified for one. Self-deprecating and kind and warm and passionate and smart and absolutely beautiful. I adore her. [My Rating: 10/10]
FILM of the WEEK: Joanna Lumley – The Search for Noah’s Ark
FILM of the MONTH: Bad Teacher I couldn’t help it, that shit was funny.