Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Movie Review: The Prince

Title: The Prince
Release Date: 2014
Genre: action, thriller
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: R for violence, drug content, and language
Age Group: 18+
Paul is just a simple mechanic who loves his daughter very dearly. When Beth goes missing from college, instead of calling the police (since they will claim she is just a runaway teen), he sets off to find her himself. The road leads him back to his past where he must face the horrible reality of what he had done. Old enemies raise their heads and threaten to kill Paul's daughter, and Paul is only human.
Or is he?
The Romans tried to conquer Scotland but discovered a people so crazed they built a wall and let the Scottish live their lives unhindered. The people of a city down south saw Paul as a Scot, a wild one it would be a bad idea to fight, and called him the Prince.
Or so they say.

Word of Warning
I did not keep a list for this one since I did not plan on doing a review. Since this is an R rated movie, the list would have been too extensive anyway and I would have summerized, so I suppose this was a good movie to forget to take notes on. Interestingly enough, the official rating hits on the problems of this movie, just not with much detail.
  • Violence. There is a lot of violence, though hardly any of it is graphic. A scene in which a woman and her daughter are in a car which blows up is shown multiple times. People are shot and die, some more dramatically than others. There are one or two car crashes. A lot of people die senselessly. A man is shot (not seriously) and stitches up his own wound while the camera watches closely. A man retells a story in which he had a gun to his head and nearly died, but did not. He later finds out the only thing that saved him in this theater shooting was the assassin running out of amo.
  • Drugs. The whole movie centers around a girl who gets into drugs and a father who goes to save her. We see the girl rarely, but drugs are mentioned often and are never glorified by the good characters (and, interestingly enough, even the bad). The climax involves a man going into a house full of people who are taking drugs. Many of them are high. Beth is also shown on drugs and looks very sick and hardly aware of what is happening around her.
  • Language. The f-word is used so frequently I would have lost track even if I had been counting. I do not remember vividly any other words, but I would not be surprised if they are in there.
  • Sexuality. Women are shown pole dancing in a club in a very sensual scene. A man is shown shirtless. A younger woman approaches a man who could be her father in a sexual way, high on drugs, but he pushes her away, disgusted but gentle. Low cut shirts, short shorts and skirts, etc. It is implied that Beth's friend was planning to go home for the night with a man at the bar. Lots of sensual flirting.
  • Drinking. Beth's friend gets drunk often and when she is first shown she openly admits that she is drunk. Men drink all the time. Multiple bars are shown where people are drinking and are often drunk.

My Thoughts
What to say? I just made this movie sound very unattractive, but in truth I do not regret spending my time watching it. I might regret it during the school year, but not on 4th of July weekend.
And now I step back and wonder why I did not regret watching a movie with so many problems in it.
It was because of the father. The father has horrible secrets from a horrible past life, but he comes off as a normal concerned father who loves his daughter very deeply. He does not look intimidating, does not have a deep scary voice, nothing implies that he should be associated with gangs and drugs and guns.
Flashbacks do. But his character does not. His actions sometimes do, but there is a strange disconnect between the actions he must take to save his daughter and who he really is. It's like he is still capable of that but he no longer is that.
I think I liked it for the disconnect, and the fatherly love. Because nothing quite gets me like a story where a father is shown being a real father (not a Disney father who was allowed to live)--especially for a teen son or daughter.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Movie Review: Napoleon Dynamite

Title: Napoleon Dynamite

Release Date: 2004
Genre: high school, comedy
My Rating: *
Official Rating: PG for thematic elements and language (note the language is the biggest problem)
Age Group: 14+

Napoleon lives a boring life. Well, not actually, but he certainly seems to think so. Feeding the llama in the backyard every day doesn't strike him as out of the ordinary, but that seems to be the only interesting thing that ever happens to him.
Then his grandma crashes her dirt bike and his uncle comes to town. The uncle brings scams and a desire to travel back in time, Napoleon's brother's online girlfriend stops in, a girl tries to sell key chains to pay for college, Pedro shows up at school one day, and things just start to explode.
I think. It was hard to tell what was going on.

Word of Warning
  •  Cartoony sketch of a woman in a bikini in the intro credits
  • Bullying
  • Language here was the biggest thing. Napoleon is probably the biggest offender of this. A few of the words we hear: frickin', idiot (this one a lot), dang, flippin'
  • Mention of a "buttload of gangs"
  • Guy hits his crotch on a bike, doubles over
  • Mention of chatting online with "babes"
  • A man is shown holding a woman in a chokehold and this is referred to as the "wisdom of man"
  • A farmer shoots a cow off screen. The scene is set so that you expect to see this happen, but then a bus of kids pulls in front and the movie watchers don't see it, but the kids do and their faces show their horror.
  • Napoleon claims his former girlfriend was a model. Someone asks if she was hot.
  • Someone says "You guys are retarded."
  • The uncle claims Napoleon still wets the bed to gain sympathy from one of his clients.
  • Someone mentions hooking up with chicks.
  • There is a sensual slow mo scene of a girl and a guy sharing ice cream and flirting (the entire scene is silent), then playing footsie
  • A pinata shaped like a mean girl at school is busted to pieces
  • A man sells a herb that apparently enhances bust size. He tries to sell this to high school girls.
  • A man shows the possible size of a woman's breasts using sauce pans and putting them right in front of her own. The husband (rightfully) beats this guy up off screen.
  • Slightly provocative dancing by an awkward teenager (hip thrusting, etc)
  • A kiss (awkward, short barely touching)

My Thoughts
I was told this was funny. After watching ten minutes of it, I was pretty sure I'd figured it out: everyone who watches the movie tells everyone else it's good and super funny, even though it's really awful. I was sure it was an elaborate scam.
Then I talked to some of the people who liked this movie and found out they genuinely liked it.
I had a hard time understanding what was so funny about it. I didn't laugh out loud (and yes, I do that often for movies). I might have smirked at the cow scene (is that wrong?) and whenever they fed the llama, but that was about it. That summary up there was really hard to write.
I'm not saying it was a bad movie. I'm just saying it didn't make much sense to me, and it still doesn't. It's quite possible my sense of humor is very underdeveloped. I know people like this movie, and I am not judging them. I just don't understand what they see in it.