Wednesday, December 27, 2006

America: From Freedom to Fascism (Documentary 2006)

Very interesting, I wasn't expecting the subject matter to revolve around the Federal Income Tax, but it's good to be surprised now and again. The narrator and creator of this film, Aaron Russo, begs to explain how America's Federal Income Tax (FIT) is actually not written into any law, but is a creation of the IRS and a small set of private banks. In a nutshell, the American people are being played, but more at the end of a gun barrel and prison time than with actual legislation.

The film starts out by explaining the ins and outs of the FIT and shows how we should not have to pay for it every year. The then goes onto the subject of the Federal Reserve and how it's not an actual government entity, but instead, a cartel of large, collaborating private banks. All of this information is combined to show how we as citizens are losing more and more rights and being steered towards becoming an Orwellian police state.

Now I'm not one to research any of this, but lets say all of the information in this documentary is true. "What are we to do about it?" I shall answer this question as a normal worker bee living in this wonderful country called America: "We do nothing." The reason for this can be laid out in a very simple manner. Most of us are law abiding citizens who don't want a visit from the cops or the Feds because they have guns and can, most of the time, use it on us with no immediate ramifications. What I mean by this is that government entities who have guns can royally fuck you even though the reasons for it may be illegal, and later down the line, after thousands of hours of suffering, you might be released. Why go through any trouble when all you have to do is pay your damn taxes and live your life as you do everyday? The people in this movie are stubborn: they believe that the system actually works. Well it doesn't. People are corrupted, government is corrupted, and all of us worker bees are just trying to get by. No sense putting up a stand when all you're going to do is get raped in the process.

This all may sound odd if you haven't seen the movie, so just bear with me. The end of this film was very "French" in the manner of stepping up and questioning your government. Throughout history, people have only united against government when they were either starving or when their quality of life had greatly diminished or was irrevocably changed. Until any of those things happen in this country, the only things that the people in this film will be doing is making their lives harder for themselves and constantly losing the battle. As I always say, "Fight only when you are going to win or when it's worth everything to make a point." Any other reason is foolish and is destined for failure. This movie is certainly not bad, it's instead quite educational, but the more you think of how many things would have to change in order to "fix" everything, the more pointless the venture becomes. Yeah it sucks that we're getting played, but who isn't? Where in the world has a grand, corruptless government where everything makes sense? Find that utopia and I'll be ready to cash in my passport.
Rating - B

Apocalypto (Drama 2006)

It's good to know that even though Mel Gibson is a crazed bigot, he can still make some pretty good movies. This film tells the story of one guy who had to overcome a ton of shiznit in order to escape from a declining civilization and save his family. As my good friend Kerry stated, "It has a very simple story," and that much is for certain. The plot is very direct and easily understood as you take a journey alongside the main character.

Everything about the movie was pretty well done as I am unable to think of any flaws or lull moments. The historical accuracy of the representation of the Mayan Civilization can be debated by those who know more about it, but from a generalist's point of view, the depiction of the setting was fairly believable. The action, music, and graphic violence is reminiscent of the first time I watched Braveheart, so that earned it some "oh damn!!" points with the visual blood and bone crunching sounds. If you're looking for a solid film set in Pre-Columbian South America, then this one's for you.
Rating - A

Monday, December 25, 2006

Step Up (Drama 2006)

Very blah movie. For one of its genre it actually fell a little below expectations. Nothing about it was interesting. The story was fairly transparent from the beginning, the actors were more interested in their own personal glory from dancing by themselves than dancing with each other, and the overall theme of the plot was pretty putt putt boring.

All of the dramatic scenes were both purposely inserted as well as poorly done. The writers literally had to think up a scene where "drama" would take place and squish it into the existing story. Later they had to waste even more time to write in a "fix drama" scene to make everything hunky-dory again.

Maybe my opinion stands as it is because the main chick was not my cup of tea. Something is wrong with her mouth; I think she has too many teeth. Am I that much of an ass reviewer? Yes, I think I am because I don't believe she was hot or convincing enough to take on a lead roll. She should be a stripper.
Rating - D

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Clerks II (Comedy 2006)

I'm surprised to say it, but this movie was actually kinda funny. It wasn't super funny, so don't get any ideas, but it got a few occasional chuckles which is better than some crap that I've seen lately.

The only things I remember from the first movie was that it was all in black & white and there was some line about "try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot" or something to that effect. This one was different in that it was much faster in terms of pace, and it sorta reminded me of the movie Waiting. The humor was right along the same lines too so yeah, I'd say that the two films were very similar in quality and lowbrowness (I just made up that word, so fuck the spell checker).

So if you're bored and need something playing in the background then this is the movie for you, but if you're looking for something more worthwhile then look elsewhere. Simple as that.
Rating - B

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sorry!

Yeah my apologies for not posting much during these last few weeks. There's like 5 movies out that I really want to see but the current cold-ass weather in Tucson has caused me to be hella more lazy and unable to get up during weekend mornings to go to the matinée showing. Since I'm still a cheap bastard, I won't pay full price to walk into a theater alone. Quite sad, I know, but fear not! Next week I totally have off so I will be able to clear out a good number of cinematic works. So until then, Merry Christmas kiddies!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Waging a Living (Documentary 2005)

Well this was an unexpected and sad little movie about four different peeps who are trying to make it in this world with only minimum wage or something very close to that amount to survive on. Although the documentary took a pretty direct look at what situations all of these individuals were in, it did not address "how" these people got in those situations in the first place. I believe the "how" is very important and should be examined.

When taking a broad look at each of these people, they all had a few things in common:
  1. They were all uneducated, although one person did finish her Associates Degree during the course of this film.
  2. They all had kids; and not just one, the number ranged from 2 to 7.
So, when looking at those facts, I say to myself, would I be able to survive with only a HS education, working for any wage $5.50-$9? And although I did not go through all of the detailed calculations such as fixed costs and stuff, I would assume, using general numbers, that I could probably survive although it would be a bitch and I would probably be living super ghetto style.

The problem with the first point is that yes, you can't really progress further in any career without an education because 1) You are not trained in anything 2) You have not proven to anyone that you can pull off learning anything new. 3) There are people better than you who are more educated or driven, and are after your job. So even though < $9 per hour is still low, it's also a survivable amount in most cases for one person, depending on where you live in the country. This number probably didn't include the factor of having kids, but why should it? It should never have been an issue in the first place when you're at such a low point in your life. While watching this film, I kept on thinking about my second point. The main reason why all of these people were "fucked" was because they had so many mouths to feed at home and because being a single parent doing regular parenting tasks sucks ass. Here is where all their money went: to support chitlins that do nothing but drain your income. Call me heartless, but I can't stand it when people make bad decisions over and over again. If you accidentally have one kid then fine, deal with that, but have anything more, and you'll be labeled an idiot who just made your own life worse. From an economic standpoint, it would even be more efficient to take out any loan necessary to abort the baby than to raise it. One lady in this film was supporting 3 kids, and one of her daughters had 4 kids, so she was supporting all seven of them! WTF! Of course there was no daddy anywhere to be seen, so what does that mean? Bad choices over the span of 2 generations. It's really really easy to avoid becoming preggers: Don't Fuck. I've almost lost count of the number of years I haven't, and guess what, I have a job and can spend all the money on me, not some lousy kid who will only lead to less money, more headache, and greater depths of disappointment. This country should have a Starship Troopers type of system in that you should have to earn the right to produce offspring so that it will ensure that the kid will have a stable, 2-person-earning family. I really wonder how many "good" kids come out of these homes with 7 damn children barely surviving under the poverty line and super dependent on government assistance. It's like pre-digging a hole for the kids even before they are born.

What frustrated me even more was the all these people could have made various changes that would improve their situation, even if they were small. One guy was living in a one bedroom hotel thing in San Fran. paying up the ass in rent. Here's an idea, borrow some money from somewhere or save up the money, and then move to somewhere else like AZ, where the cost of living is way cheaper. The dude was a security guard, so it was not like he was limited to a specific geographic region. The camera also showed this guy's room and his collection of movies all neatly stacked. Here's another idea, sell those movies and stop buying them, that's why renting exists. How much money was wasted on all of those extras? If you don't have any money, live on the bare necessities until you can upgrade, don't be spending shit on uselessness. One chick looked like she had her nails done every week; you know the kind, those nasty, long nails. How much does that cost each time she goes in? Half of the peeps in this movie were also super fat, so how about eating less or skipping a meal all together? You'll get skinnier and you'll also have more money in your pocket. Win-win!

All of these people were in their respective "bad" positions in life because they had made many poor decisions throughout it. I find it very hard to feel sympathy for that. Don't have kids, don't get divorced, and a least get a Bachelor's; these are the three lessons from this film.
Rating - B

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Joyeux Noël (Foreign Drama 2005)

Well there's a very distinct reason why the French should not be allowed to make war movies: because they're boring. This film told the story of three military platoons: Scottish, French, and German who, during WWI decided to call a ceasefire on Christmas Eve so that one night could be spent chillin' with each other without fear of dying. It was supposedly based on a true story so that's warm & fuzzy and all, but it was just so boring!

Anyway, the plot of this movie concentrated around the primary officers of the 3 groups and showed how each of them were actual people with feelings and families and such. I guess back in those days, the govt. used a type of indirect propaganda to paint the enemies of the state as crazy, Godless monsters which took away the guilt of killing another human being. So after spending one night fraternizing with the enemy, everyone started to notice that their "enemies" were actual people who were forced to go to war because their countries told them to do so. Afterwards the soldiers and their officers have to deal with how to proceed in terms of the "war" because they all have lost their will to fight each other. I guess drinking with people builds some sort of camaraderie? I sure haven't noticed that, but whatever.

The film was not horribly done, but it was indeed very fru fru in its story and execution. No excitement at all, just a bunch of people who were not willing to fight. Although that's good from a non-violence standpoint, for a movie, you better have something to fill the gap because it turned into a bunch of military guys on a field just chillin' and waiting to get caught or for the war to end.
Rating - C

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Fountain (Drama 2006)

When I first walked out of this movie, I really didn't get it, but after sitting here listening to the soundtrack online and pondering, I think I finally get it now. Does this eureka make this film a great one? Not yet, but it does make it a super symbolic film that will require multiple watches for it to be 100% appreciated.

In the trailer, it looks like the plot is related to the Fountain of Youth or at least immortality or prevention of death, but it's actually all about one man's grip with mortality and acceptance. The funny thing is that most people can generally understand and accept what life is all about, but the research doctor that Hugh Jackman plays, is one of the few that just doesn't get it. I think the film tries to play it off as, "It's because he is so in love with his sick wife", but I call bullshit. A doctor is supposed to be all about science and logic. Life and death are all parts of that system, and preventing death is unnatural, as it supercedes the standing progression of nature. So thus, the character is either crazy or arrogant beyond words. I would say he's both; he should've gotten some Cs in college, that would've knocked him off his pedestal.

The music and cinematography were both serene and beautiful. The OST might actually be a pretty good one if you like ambient music. Visually speaking, the film was great, even though it was a little too dark at times. The plot was hard to wrap one's head around, that's why it took some time this evening for me to analyze it piece by piece until it became partially understandable. Again, everything symbolizes something else, and the second you figure out those connections, the film turns into a fairly deep one. I'll definitely have to re-watch it again to see if I missed anything else. If you're game for a thinking movie, this one's for you.
Rating - B