Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a thriller, a comedy and an unexplained chicken

Netflix may or may not be the best invention ever.

I could drive to a movie theater, park, buy popcorn, watch previews, watch a movie, and drive home in the time that it takes me to choose a movie to stream on Netflix.

Too many choices? That's only a small part of it. There are too many areas for potential distraction. There's the recommendations selected just for me. Searching by favorite actors, directors, genres, provides further distraction. Every corner opens new doors into a never-ending, deep dark abyss. When I select a movie that looks interesting, the website generates movies they think are similar to the one I've clicked. And on and on it goes.

Hours pass before I realize I'm not any closer to choosing a movie worthy of watching than when I logged in.

I watched two movies over the weekend. Neither of which were streamed from Netflix. Both of which I've previously viewed.

La Femme Nikita

This spy, action, thriller film, directed by the French filmmaker, Luc Besson, kept my attention when it first came out over ten years ago. That still holds true today. La Femme Nikita is the story of a young woman, Nikita, played by Anne Parillaud, who is transformed from a killer in the streets to a government assassin. In the opening scenes, she projects feral hostility and brings a wild animal persona to the role.

Cornered by police, Nikita takes advantage of a cop's momentary lapse of attention to grab his gun and shoot him directly in the face. She has no hope of escape. She is simply so deranged and strung-out that she doesn't care if she lives or dies.

Nikita is sentenced to death, but there's a surprising twist... her death was faked, and she finds herself inside a secret government program that takes people with no hope and remakes them into programmed assassins. Nikita is given a new identity, new values, new skills. Her controller, Bob, a tough spymaster, has the job of training her. She is so filled with anger and violence that she'd rather kick and bite him than listen to this man who spared her life.

There is more to Nikita than murder and mayhem. About a third of the way into the story, Nikita finds that she prefers love over hate, tenderness over brutality. Watching her transition from crazed killer to a woman with unself-conscious grace, adds tenderness to this thriller. Stunning cinematography, superb acting and extraordinary writing all come together to make this movie one of my all-time favorites.

The Hangover

What do a tiger, a chicken, a horrible, effeminate, Chinese stereotype man naked in a car trunk, a stolen police car, Mike Tyson, a baby, a missing tooth and Phil Collins’ music all have in common? Answer: Nothing, but within 100 minutes this movie finds a way to juxtapose and explain all. Well...except the chicken.

In short, it's a film about four guys who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Sounds very formula, right? Au contrair, mon ami! The movie opens with a wedding montage, then we cut to the disheveled group and Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) making the call to the groom’s wife, “We fucked up.” The rest of the movie explains how profoundly they "fucked up."

That's all I can tell you about it without giving too much away.

For this one I highly recommend you grab your favorite alcoholic beverage, sit back and be prepared to laugh. And if you're not laughing, you're taking it way too seriously!

Be warned: neither of these movies are kid friendly. Adults only! I don't want to be held responsible for the corruption of your children.

Tell me... what good movies have you seen lately?


Susan said...

Well, I haven't seen either one of your picks, but I will put them on the queue. The last one I watched was "Happy Tears". An indie film with Parker Posey and Demi Moore who play sisters who have to take care of their aging father played by Rip Torn. I thought it was really good. I love Parker Posey and she and Demi played very well off each other.

happygirl said...

The Hangover is my "go to" movie when I need a good laugh. I mean a REALLY good laugh. I recommend The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I think you would like it. *heads up, it's got sex in it.