Saturday, May 16, 2015

Film Review: 'Force Majeure' Coolly Metafizzical...

Image result for force majeure movieSwedish movies are known for their brooding interiors, but brooding exteriors? Now there's fresh food for thought, a thought experiment, that is, which probably best describes this little peach of a movie from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund. The premise is simple enough: a 'controlled avalanche' in the French Alps goes a little bit out of control, giving tourists dining on the view and crepes a good scare, and their split-second reactions a good lesson in metaphysics. Spoiler alert: get your popcorn before the movie starts, because the climax comes within the first ten minutes. Everything else is denouement. Alternative title suggestion: 'Premature Extrapolation'....

The French title (better than the Swedish title 'Turist' BTW), translates most obviously to 'Major Force', but that sounds like a Charles Bronson movie, so 'Act of God' is probably the better rendition, referring as it does to the clause in most contracts that allows a way out for everyone, much harm but no foul; i.e. 'sh*t happens', responsibility must be shared, if the concept even applies. And that's the plot: when the 'little avalanche' comes, people revert to basic instincts for survival, if only for a minute. The wife and mother immediately protects her kids. The husband and father pulls a George Costanza and makes for the exit, reappearing only long after the fog of disaster has cleared. Food for thought? You bet...

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Remember 2014? Remember 'The Interview'?

The year 2014 had to be one of the weirdest years ever, politically and socially, almost unbelievable even months later. First (but not necessarily most) was the wave of child refugees from Central America swarming the US border. That's weird! That makes Putin gobbling up Ukraine almost pale in comparison, way beyond the pale. And remember Ebola, aka 'Apocalypse Now'? Then there's Malaysian Airlines' MH370 and MH17, the one lost in water, the other lost in war. 

War! ISIS! ISIL! And the pseudo sorta' Islamic State! Just when you thought that Netanyahu could 'mow the lawn' of the Mideast with Palestinian bodies, accomplished with impunity and consummate skill, a group of jihadis decide to form a new state in their midst with a ragtag gang of hell-bent misfits armed with sharpened knives and blood in their eyes. But the weirdest part of 2014 had to be the movie 'The Interview'. Remember that, the Seth Rogen farce starring him and James Franco in character as television personalities assigned to interview (and assassinate) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un? 

I finally got around to seeing 'The Interview' this week. It's a farce, all right, and if I were a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy fanatic, then I would have to conclude that the North Korean threat of terrorism against the producers and distributors of this movie surely must've been factory-made PR to boost sales of what is otherwise one of the worst movies every made. Save yourself the streaming fee (this year's Oscar picks are all available on Netflix DVD by now BTW; streamers can wait).

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