This was a slow week, I do have a life people, I can’t just sit around and watch movies all day long, ya know!
This week I make my daughter happy, I revisit my past, I marvel at the idiosyncrasies of Michael Douglas and a couple of Korean kids captivate me. A pretty good week with a decent mix of films I’d say.
Barbie As The Princess And The Pauper (2004, William Lau, United States Of America) *
My now five year old daughter watched this on her birthday, and she liked it, but as should be expected I was not as enamored. The songs are about the only thing worth mentioning, even if they aren’t well written. They do, however, sound good, so that’s something. Otherwise this is what you would expect from this type of movie, not funny, badly animated and so on. But, it is better than Disney’s Home On The Range and the Oscar winning Crash, both released in the same year, and I guess that’s something.
The Chipmunk Adventure (1987, Janice Karman, United States Of America) ***
Maybe nostalgia is tricking me on this one, but I’m going with it. The Chipmunk Adventure is super silly and completely stupid throughout, but it’s a lot of fun. Not to sound like I’m leaving you guys short on this one, but that about best sums up the film for me. This was a lot of fun, I enjoyed myself, I liked taking a trip down memory lane, and that’s that.
Treeless Mountain (2008, So Yong Kim, South Korea/United States Of America) ***1/2
It’s like a postcard that tells you very little of what is going on, only the bare minimum. I was surprised at how exposition free the film was, but as soon as the style of the film set in for me I could see how the director, So Yong Kim, was able to get away with no exposition. I was never left with relatives for any extended period of time growing up, but my mom and grandparents always left to go to work or I left to go to school. It may sound silly, but as a youngster I remember feeling lonely at times, wondering if they would come back from work or if they would be there when I got home from school. Jin and Bin are too young to experience what they are going through, because who knows if there mom will ever come back. But, that’s where the naturalism of Treeless Mountain comes into play. They may be too young to experience the changes in their life that are happening, but experience them they must and the movie, especially the cinematography, mirrors the realness of their predicament. A sparse, but engaging tale, Treeless Mountain ended up being a welcome surprise.
King Of California (2007, Mike Cahill, United States Of America) ***
Buried beneath a flowing river of quirk and indie kitsch rests the performance of Michael Douglas. Truth be told, I could have done without the rest of the movie. King Of California is what I have come to expect from an indie film that is determinded to prove its indieness. There’s no other standout performances, no other great laughs, no deep profoundness to be found in a movie that is dead set on trying to be profound. I almost considered docking King Of California even more points for how much it pushes to be a slightly different version of The Big Lebowski, but in the end I didn’t care about that aspect all that much. But, Michael Douglas, his performance here is pretty great. He’s the only person in the picture who really launches into his character, refusing to hold back at all. He creates a funny man, an interesting man, the only person who I wanted to see and the only person to make me laugh. Michael Douglas made me care, the rest of the film, not so much.
Some good films and one really good film that may turn into a great one upon repeat viewings. I’m willing to call this week a win, because even the worst of the bunch was a movie my daughter enjoyed and that means it’s all gravy, baby! Yeah, I’m done being a dork now, well not really, but I am saying adios, so, uh, adios.