Archive for December 9, 2010

Tiny Furniture

Directed by:  Lena Dunham

Written by:  Lena Dunham

Produced by:  Kyle Martin, Alicia Van Couvering

Starring:  Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham

Run Time:  98 minutes

“Aura just wants someone to tell her who she is(taken from the films summary).”  Lucky for Aura, she’s surrounded by witty hipsters and sassy women to help her on her journey of self enlightenment.  Tiny Furniture is about a young entitled girl, who basically the personality of a rock and her struggle through life even though she really doesn’t have any problems.  Tiny Furniture offers nothing original, is badly written and is basically made for those people who like to think they’re intelligent but in reality are complete dullards.

The story behind Tiny Furniture is horrendous.  In fact, it’s so bad that even the description of film on its very own website makes the film look horrible.  It’s one thing to have a bad review but when the filmmakers, producers, directors and actors can’t even explain the story in a way that would be interesting or motivating, there’s a big problem.  To prove my point, I’m going break down a piece of the story using the filmmakers very own words.  (See the complete story plot here: http://www.tinyfurniture.com/#story )

“22-year-old Aura returns home to her artist mother’s TriBeCa loft with the following: a useless film theory degree, 357 hits on her Youtube page, a boyfriend who’s left her to find himself at Burning Man, a dying hamster, and her tail between her legs.”

That sounds great doesn’t it?  No, it sounds lame and the worst part about it is that it’s not even an honest description of the movie. What the summary neglects to tell a potential film viewer is that she has 357 views on here Youtube because her videos are horrible.  It also states that her boyfriend left her to go find himself at Burning Man which is in Nevada but we find out he moved to Colorado ruining that explanation.  It also mentions the non-event of her hamster dying like it was somehow important to the story when the reality was the characters didn’t seem to care whatsoever.  That’s just the first sentence of the description; do I really need to break down the entire summary of this garbage film?  None of it makes any sense and it seems as if it’s just written to make people think that there is something to the story and characters when the sad truth is that none of it is worth caring about and makes little if any sense.

Every character in Tiny Furniture is completely enraging; to the point where I could only dream that the movie would end in a fiery car crash where Aura is having that near death flashback about her life.  The characters aren’t believable and if they are based on real life people, it’s more of a sad statement about the pettiness and stupidity of humanity in general.  I’ve never seen a movie with so many horrible characters and to put that in perspective, I watch plenty of late night B-Movies.  I’ve have had more of an emotional response watching the acting/characters on TNA Wrestling, who sadly have more depth, are more realistic and much more interesting than the characters in Tiny Furniture.

Most of the dialog in the film is completely the same from character to character showing a lack of creative writing ability and also that the actors lack personality since some actors actually improvise to make their characters sound more natural.  Of course the lack of creativity with the dialog is masked by their placebo intellectualism as the characters speak with each other only to have what they say fall apart under any scrutiny becoming completely moronic.  Does anyone really think talking about anime porn is interesting or listening to emotional entitled girl complain about how difficult her life is would make interesting dialog?

There is a silver lining to Tiny Furniture:  Even though the story, actors, dialog and characters are as bad as they come, the film was made with cheap equipment that would be easy for an aspiring filmmaker to purchase.  The fact that anyone can get a camera and can make a good quality movie speaks for the advancement in film technology more so than it does for the filmmaker.  Tiny Furniture should be an inspiration to up and coming artists that they too can make a film with little money and one would hope that people who do follow Dunham’s lead and make movies that are actually worth watching.

Tiny Furniture fails on almost every level and there’s no reason anyone should take the time to watch it. This movie is so bad that I feel it’s safe to tell you that if the film resonates with you at all, you should seriously consider buying a shotgun to shoot yourself in the head.  Anyone who likes this film is a total pretentious asshole.  If you like this film, I whole heartedly want you to kill yourself and spare the world having to deal with your oversensitive entitled hipster nonsense. There really is no point to the film, the story is pure rubbish and the idea that anyone would care about a girl who really doesn’t have any problems slowly breaking down for no reason at all is insanely stupid.  The only people who could possibly like this movie are those fake intellectuals who are more concerned about looking smart then actually being smart.  I hate Aura, I hate her friends, I hate her journey and most of all, I hate this movie.  There’s absolutely nothing moving or original about Tiny Furniture.

[Rating: 1 out of 10]

Kung Fu Chefs

Directed by: Wing Kin Yip

Written by: Cyrus Cheng, Eddie Chu, Simon Liu, Po Wang, Joey Yuen

Produced by: Jeremy Cheung

Starring: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Vanness Wu, Cherrie Ying

Run Time: 93 minutes

Who would have thought that the best chefs in the world would know how to fight in addition to cooking luxurious dishes?  It’s true, well maybe not in the real world, where our cooking competitions are interesting but lack the real excitement that only a street fight could bring.  Kung Fu Chefs mixes two of my favorite things, good food and a hefty dose of kung fu action.  While Kung Fu Chefs isn’t the best kung fu movie out there, it is an entertaining watch for all of those people who enjoy cheesy low budget action/comedy movies.

Starring the legendary Sammo Hung as the disgraced master chef Wong Bing-Yi, who has an almost super natural ability to cook as well as fight, and Vanness Wu as Lung Kin-Yat, a recent graduate of kung fu cooking school, Kung Fu Chefs has an awesome cast.  One problem with most action movies is that the main character, the guy who’s supposed to represent the common man, is always some muscular, ruggedly handsome action star but the heavy set Sammo Hung actually looks like he could be a real chef which makes the action scenes extremely entertaining.  Think about it, who wouldn’t want to see an episode of Iron Chef where Mario Batali smacks some punk upside his head when he gets out of line?  Hung may not be a real life Batali but in the film, he could be one of his long lost relatives.

The basic plot itself is simple, after being kicked out of the Village, a prestigious restaurant and school, and having the Dragon Head Cleaver, a legendary weapon/chef knife, stripped from him, Wong Bing-Yi travels, sample and judges restaurant cuisines. During his travels Wong gives an unfavorable review of his meal at the Four Seas Restaurant, the head chef challenges Wong to a chefs dual (see it sounds silly already) stating that he would leave his family business if he lost.  We all know what happens, Wong wins and now that the restaurant was left without a cook, Wong steps in to help the struggling establishment.  It doesn’t take long for Wong’s arch enemy, his nephew, to discover that he’s begun cooking again which starts a war between their two restaurants.

Kung Fu Chefs was shot on a low budget so of course it isn’t one of those artistic kung fu movies, like Crouching Tiger, which have taken over the genera over the last few years. Kung Fu Chefs is more of a comedy which takes you back to the days of those late night martial arts movies that used to play on television years ago.  Even though the action is cheesy, the cooking can’t possibly be right and the whole story is a little off, you can’t help but love the old school feel of the movie.  If you’re like me and love the nostalgia of those old low budget action movies, be sure to check Kung Fu Chefs out.  This movie will be part of the Mill Valley Film Fest so you’ll also have the chance to watch it on a big screen.

Rating: 6 out of 10

The Housemaid

Directed by: Sang-soo Im

Written by: Sang-soo Im (screenplay), Ki-young Kim

Produced by: Jason Chae

Starring:  Jeon Do-yeon. Lee Jung-jae. Seo Woo. Yoon Yeo-jeong. Ahn Seo-hyeon. Park Ji-young

Run Time: 107 minutes

It’s hard to find the right words to describe The Housemaid.  One description could be movie where a young woman becomes a maid for an ultra rich family, has an affair with the husband which in turn creates a dramatic conflict between the maid and the wife.  Another way I’ve heard it described is as an “erotic thriller.”  Personally I’d describe it as a high class soap opera which would appeal to people who think that a clueless man, bored wife and women trying to manipulate each other is somehow entertaining.  Honestly, it’s even difficult to write a review about because The Housemaid doesn’t inspire hatred or any critical thought whatsoever.

The Good

The Housemaid has beautiful production.  The setting as well as the photography is done extremely well and artistically.  The overall message showing how cruel and inhumane those super wealthy are is a very accurate viewpoint of many people, especially after the economic slowdown.

The Bad

While the plot of the story could possibly be made into an interesting movie, the characters themselves combined with plot holes really ruin any promise of entertainment.  The biggest plot hole in my mind is that for the life of me I can’t figure out why the wife didn’t just fire the maid when she found out about her husband’s affair with her?

The Ugly

Parts of The Housemaid are entertaining for the completely wrong reasons.  For instance, the maid’s first “erotic” encounter is meant to be sexy but of course it ends up being completely silly as the husband flexes his arms for no real reason while he holds a bottle of wine as the maid pleasures him.  In another scene the maid suffers an accident where she falls cleaning a chandelier but, even though she falls straight down, which in real life would break her legs, she’s in a hospital with a simple neck brace during the next few scenes.  Even if we could somehow justify the injury of her neck, her rehabilitation would take months but since the movie takes place in a strange time warp, the wife who continuously looks 9 months pregnant doesn’t give birth until it’s convenient for the story.

In the end the housemaid lacks the any real thrill and almost completely fails its attempt at eroticism.  I’d like to say there would be a reason to go see this film since it can be fun to watch a movie that you hate but this isn’t one of those movies.  In a way being an average movie is worse than being a horrible one since it really inspires little or no emotion.  The Housemaid isn’t bad enough for a person to hate but on the other hand it isn’t good enough to actually enjoy either so it’s left in that black hole of truly dull films that no one will really care about.

[Rating: 5/10]