Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rob reviews "Dans Paris"

Today I watched Dans Paris (allow me to translate for you "Inside Paris") starring Romain Duris, and Monsieur Duris is the reason I checked this out from Netflix.  Duris was the titular "Heartbreaker" in that movie starring Vanessa Paradis, and during the moments I was able to take my eyes off her -- well, I couldn't take my eyes off her, but during the moments she wasn't onscreen I noticed that Duris was a pretty good actor too.  I've seen him in several other movies "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" "Moliere" "Paris" "Russian Dolls" and pretty much anything else of his I could track down.  The London Guardian says " He does have a completely transformative smile, capable of changing his face in the flick of a lip: from sexy to silly, brooding to buffoonish."  And I agree.  Romain Duris joins William Powell as the only male actors who I will watch in anything.
Here he plays Paul, a man suicidally depressed after his girlfriend breaks up with him.  Why they broke up I am not sure.  French people break up some times for reasons that don't translate well.  Suffice it to say that he was not easy to live and she was only slightly easier than him.  He seemed a little depressed before they broke up actually, as in the scene where she nudges him with the car to try to get him to get in and he lies down in front of the car.  I can certainly understand his being depressed.  Joana Preiss is not a classic beauty but she is certainly sexy as she dances unselfconsciously here.

He heads home to Dad and little brother Jonathan (Louis Garrel) intending to wallow in self-pity, and maybe work enough gumption to kill himself, but they have other plans.  They know he's in trouble cuz he lays around the house all day in his underwear listening to Kim Wilde's "Cambodia" (without a doubt the saddest 80's synth-pop song ever).  Actually the whole family is still dealing with the fallout from the suicide of only daughter (sister) Claire several years previously.  Dad fixates on everyday chores -- making soup, buying a Christmas tree. etc.  Jonathan tries to help Paul; he makes a deal with his older brother that if can make it to Le Bon Marche in 20 minutes, Paul will put on his pants and meet him there.  It ends up taking him seven hours but only because he runs into an old girlfriend (Alice Bataud) and makes two new girlfriends on the way.  Naturally he has sex with all three.  This definitely seems like the healthiest way to deal with depression.
Near the end this movie contains one of the most amazing scenes I've ever seen, as this rather dark comedy turns into a musical when Paul calls his ex and they sing to each other.  Don't roll your eyes, it works.  I would include it here but you really need to see the whole movie to see why this works.
I'll give this movie 4 out of five stars -- docked one star because Vanessa Paradis is not in it.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Rob's restaurant reviews: Chick Fil-A

I love Chick Fil-A.  It is about the only fast food chain I patronize.  (Five Guys isn't fast food, is it?)

You can get a grilled chicken breast on a whole wheat bun, which is a nice healthy option and my usual entree.  I can also count on them to have some great unsweetened iced tea too.  Unsweetened iced tea is not an option at most places, and if they do offer it you can bet it's been sitting around getting funky for days.  But it's always fresh at Chick Fil-A.  They even have lemon slices to go with it.
So no complaints about the food, but that doesn't mean I don't have complaints.  Their motto (or slogan or whatever you call it) "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich" bothers me in several ways.  First I don't believe it.  It's been three hundred years since the Earl of Sandwich gave the two-slice comestible its current title, and of course people have been eating sandwiches for thousands of years before that, they just didn't know what to call it.  Does it really seem likely that in all that time nobody thought to put a piece of chicken between two pieces of bread until some Georgia cracker in 1946?
And second, it's kind of patronizing, is it not?  Do they think we really might believe that Chick Fil-A invented chickens?  I mean, come on, chickens have been around for longer even than sandwiches.  That is not an urban legend that is crying out to be debunked.  "Oh, you poor lunkhead customers of ours, we did not invent chickens."
And okay, even if he did invent the chicken sandwich, there's a saying on the wall of most Chick Fil-A's that just makes me shake my head every time I see it:
Not exactly poetry, is it?  You have to eat so you might as well eat food that tastes good.  Wow, thanks, Mr Cathay, I was going to eat this pile of dog doo till you said that and made me think.  You're pretty smart.  Are you sure you didn't invent the chicken?
One more complaint. I always know when it's Sunday even without any other clues cuz that';s the day I crave Chick- Fil-A.  And it's the day they're closed.  I understand the Sabbath day stuff, but can't we compromise?  Have some Jews or Muslims or atheist teenagers run the place on Sunday   I mean, food is essential to life on Sunday too, is it not?

Rob's Reviews "Helena From the Wedding."

If they ever decide to teach a course in how to make a movie Robert Loy hates, the students will do well to study this turkey.  3 or 4 couples get together, they are all whiny and self-absorbed, and are all either having an affair, trying to have an affair, or dealing with the repercussions from the affair they just had.  Nobody really likes any of their "friends" (and who can blame them?)  Throw in a pointless fake British accent from Gillian Jacobs that fades in and out like an AM radio station at night, and an ending where two people who have a lot they need to talk about say absolutely in the climactic scene -- if a movie where nothing happens can be said to have a climax.  Ostensibly this is because they're too emotionally overwhelmed for words, but it feels like the writer and director were just lazy and wanted us to do their work for them.  (Most egregious example of this I can think of is "Lost in Translation"; they can study that one in this class too.)
Speaking of Gillian Jacobs, she is not pretty.  I don't care what anybody at Greendale Community College thinks.  I did watch some of the extras on this DVD just to see if the cast said all the usual "I just loved the script, it was so intelligent and different" and they did, with a straight face, which means they saved all their best acting for the extras reel.  Jacobs added that what she loved about her character was that she was an enigma.  That girl needs a dictionary, "enigma" does not mean "half-baked character from lazy writers."