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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I saw three films this weekend.  To my pleasant surprise, they ended up:

   #1  Mama (63%/69%)
   #2  Zero Dark Thirty (93%/85%)
   #3  Silver Linings Playbook (91%/91%)

If I had to rate the three, I would use those Rotten Tomatoes reviewer percentages (first one).  The second number is the RT audience liking.

Mama is a ghost story.  I hate ghost stories.  I believe that ghosts exist in the minds of some, and they're sincere about it.  However, the probability of two people seeing the same ghost can only be explained by some natural phenomenon, and Mama had none, being pure movie fantasy.  Yes, there are artificial and opportunistic scare scenes that work. But how this film became #1 only shows that people can be influenced by these kinds of supernatural nonsense.  

Javier Botet is a Spanish male actor.  He portrays Mama.  He, and therefore, the girls, who lived together for five years, walk like a spider, but Mama also flies.  Mama is most effective when a wisp in the background.  When real, she/he is finally shown, the scare factor dissipates, and the whole thing becomes almost ludicrous.  I'll do you a big favor.  Here is Mama:

I yeah, I should add that Jessica Chastain was stunning.  I saw Zero Dark Thirty (ZD30) first and she loooked like any government employee under stress (left).  Below in Mama, you would not have recognized her if you did not know she was in this movie.

She is 33, but her film debut was only five years ago.  She won a best supporting nomination for The Help last year and is up for best actress this year from ZD30.  She just won  the Golden Globe Award as best actress for this movie.

Zero Dark Thirty is almost 2.5 hours long and at times tiresome, but nevertheless mostly gripping and similar in intensity to The Hurt Locker, the 2008 Academy Award film, also directed by Kathryn Bigelow.  Lincoln will win the Academy Award this year, but ZD30 is right up there as the best.

First of all, you might need a beginner's guide to this film.  Zero Dark Thirty is never mentioned.  This term is militarese for pitch dark.  KSM is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (below left), the possible mastermind of the 9/11 plot, who was captured in 2003 and sent to Guantanamo Bay.  It is said he was waterboarded 183 times.  He is still alive and has yet to be sentenced.  Oh, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini, right) plays who is probably Leon Panetta, who at that time ran the CIA.  Area 51 in Nevada is real.  The U-2, stealth fighters and special helicopters are secretly developed here.

Trifecta came with Silver Linings Playbook, a packed film featuring a basketful of top actors.  With eight Oscar nominations, surely, there should be a statue or two just by the odds.  

Every single one of us is at least a little fucked up mentally.

In this film, Bradley Cooper is certifiably nuts, Jennifer Lawrence is at the edge, and Robert De Niro is a normal American NFL crazy who believes in good and bad juju.   Yes, this is a comedy and dance film about mental illness.  But, ah, it has a Hollywood feel good ending.

I had my usual Magic Island lunch, this version including corned beef, cabbage, shoyu pork and Kirin beer, with Diamond Head in the background:

Then  ended the day with a sunset:


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