Saturday, December 29, 2012

Netflix Suggestion of the Week: Bronson

I didn't see a SIFF movie today, because I'm stuck at work, but I decided to launch a weekly segment highlighting one of my favorite movies currently streaming on netflix.  Netflix streaming movies aren't *technically* free, but they feel free, so I think they should count.  And I'll mostly stick to indies, in keeping with the general theme of the blog.  Why not?

And yes, I work on Saturdays.  Not only do I work, but I'm the ONLY one at my office who works on Saturdays.  I get really, really bored.  So, Saturday feels like the best day to sit around thinking about movies I like.

And today, I'm thinking about Tom Hardy. 

Have you noticed that Bane is the new Daniel Plainfield?

Tom Hardy is beautiful and terrifying.  He's blutifying (word fail). If it wasn't for the movie Bronson (2008), I would think of him merely as an oily boy-hunk with the most womanly mouth of all time.  However, sometime last year, I was listening to The Film Vault (one of my favorite podcasts), and Bronson ended up on my queue. 

Bronson is the story of Michael Peterson, England's most notorious prisoner.  Being imprisoned for some fairly inocuous crimes, he becomes widely known for his bizarre and violent actions in prison.  Peterson changes his name to Charles Bronson, and basically starts shit with everyone he comes in contact with.

I watched Bronson twice in one day, because when it was over, I didn't want it to be over, so I started it at the beginning again. WHY is it so awesome?  Let's break it down:

(1) Tom Hardy is in it.  Did I mention that?
(2) You get to see Tom Hardy's penis no less than one billion times. 
(3) You get to see Tom Hardy strip himself nude, rub butter all over his body, and attack people.

Have I said enough already?

(4) This movie has a really cool circus-theater style to it that I find mesmerizing.  They intersect monologues and scenes highlighting Bronson's gradiosity with stark, realistic scenes showing Bronson's fairly sad life.  The pacing is great and the story rolls out in a really compelling way.
(5) The acting is superb.  Seriously.  Tom Hardy has what I like to call "the crazy eye."  I think there are only a few people out there who can really, sincerely make you think that they are out of their minds, while making eye contact with the camera.  And T-bags is one of them. 

That's actually what was so disappointing about his performance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  His face is so interesting!  And they covered most of it up with that awful mask.  Then they made his voice hilarious.  It was kind of a waste.  Oh well.  He gets to play Mad Max in 2013.  That will make up for it. 

I highly recommend that you watch Bronson right away.  5 out of 5 stars!

Then, immediately afterwards, watch Tom Hardy in The TV Version of Wuthering Heights from the same year.  Because that shit is HILARIOUS. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1: Barbara 12/26/12 4:30pm showing

BEHOLD! My sweet new SIFF pass, complete with lanyard and plastic pouch!

I had my first glimpse of the Uptown SIFF Theater, and I like it! Old-school stadium seating, and decent sized screens.  Reasonably priced concessions.  It seems to be very clean.

I saw a sign saying that it's run by volunteers, which might be why there was a good vibe. The ticket taker reminded me of Mr. Rogers.

I can totally see myself seeing oodles of free movies here over the next 12 months.

For my first film, I chose Barbara, a german-language film out of Estonia.  SIFF describes Barbara as a "perfectly calibrated cold-war thriller" set in East Germany in 1980.

When I read the words "Germany" and "Thriller," I assume that means I'm going to see (a) tons of suspence, (b) bizarre violence (possibly torture), and (c) weird sex.  Maybe that says more about me than about movies, but those were my expectations.

Barbara had zero of those things.
No suspense.  No violence.  No weird sex.
Nary a booby to be found.

Don't get me wrong, I actually thought it was really well done.  It was just not a thriller.  I thought of it more as a character piece. It had a kind of wandering, vague plot.  There were one or two plot points that were lost on me because I don't really know anything about rural cold war East Germany, but I appreciated that the director didn't feel the need to explain everything.  And, it was really well-acted.

But I was definitely not on the edge of my seat.

In fact, I got loudly shushed by an old person, because I was apparently eating my twizzlers too loud.  (Old people at movies are the WORST. I'm sure there will be a lot more on that subject later, as this seems to be an old person's movie theater.)

I recommend seeing Barbara if you enjoy watching people ride bikes in skirts, or if you are having trouble falling asleep.

Peggy's rating: Two stars (out of five)

It all started with one really excellent Christmas gift...

It's humbling to admit that my boyfriend* won Christmas this year.  

I thought I was going overboard when I bought him SIX presents, and a stocking full of card games.  I also thought I had him when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas a WEEK before!  Surely, he was flailing.  Then, on Christmas eve, he texted from work to tell me that he forgot to get my present!  "I'll grab it really quick before you get here."  

I was feeling pretty cocky.  

Then, he showed up with what might be the most awesome present anyone has ever given me: A YEAR of free movies at the Seattle Independent Film Festival Theaters.  

As many as I want.  

All year.  

I could watch every movie they show.  All year.  For free.  

The extra awesomeness of this gift is that not only is it free movies, but this is an independent film house, so they play all kinds of obscure, arty films.  Yes, they are showing Les Miserables and Django Unchained right now, so there are some more mainstream movies for when I'm feeling populist, but I'll be able to see foreign films, and documentaries, and short series that don't play at AMC or Regal.  

So, I've decided to do three things:
(1) My goal is to see every movie playing at SIFF for the next year.  FOR FREE.  I think it's TOTALLY doable.

(2) I shall document my film-going experiences.  You should know, before reading my posts, that I'm not a film snob.  I like ALL kinds of movies, from Dude, where's my car to Irreversible.  I have a special love for Nick Cage, and I love a good fart joke.  So, this may be an exercise of me falling asleep in 200 movies over the next year.  I'm totally ok with that.  Because it's all FREE!!!!

(3) Next year, I really need to bring my A game for Christmas presents.

So, sit back, enjoy my ramblings about free movies, and maybe I'll put together some lists of recommendations or something at some point.  Who knows!  

For now, I need to go get dressed, because I have movies to see.

*greatest person on earth