American Sniper has been a bit of a polarizing experience, if you happen to read any articles about it. I guess the central figure, Chris Kyle, has gone under some scrutiny for actions not really shown in the film, while at the same time the movie has been glorified and praised for its flag waving American pride type themes. There’s a lot to be discussed, and it’s all a very serious matter, so I’m going to do everyone a favor and let the two sides of the story speak for themselves… On one side, there’s the heavily Oscar nominated Clint Eastwood film American Sniper, and on the other side is the lunch I had at Naf Naf Grill yesterday.
Premise: Without giving too much away, the movie starts out as homeless guy Dwight (Macon Blair) is set on getting revenge on a guy being released from prison who did something bad to his family years ago. The rest of the movie is about Dwight defending himself and evening scores while being kind of a hilariously semi-inept amateur assassin who doesn’t *quite* know what he’s doing.
Premise: Kevin Smith made a movie about a man who turns another man into a walrus. I’m… …I’m not sure if I need to add more to this premise…?
(thinks about all the Chipotles destroyed in the carnage) (sheds a single tear)
Premise: “OK, let’s do a crappy Gladiator-esk knock off for the first hour… Wait, scratch that… Let’s just flat-out copy Gladiator scene for scene, but again, crappier; and then for the last thirty minutes, let’s add a volcano. Here’s $100 million to play with, Paul W.S. Anderson.” -Some stupid movie producer.
Guys, is this what Windows 8 is like? I still use Vista. I was thinking of upgrading to Windows 8.
Premise: I was at a cottage in Michigan over the weekend with no TV and limited internet, and then it started raining (a lot), so I looked up the local theater to see what was playing. The menacing storm had managed to even infiltrate my phone’s Fandango app, as R.I.P.D. was the only movie showing anywhere close to what time it was. That’s not really a premise description, but more so just an explanation as to how I came to watch this movie that I wasn’t all that excited to see in the first place. Besides, describing a rainy day is a lot more interesting than anything R.I.P.D has to offer.
Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary about a late-60s singer/songwriter simply known as “Rodriguez”. He was a mysterious character; doing all his business dealings on street corners and basically being a homeless artist. To the few people in America who bought his records, he was on the level of Bob Dylan. But he never quite hit it big, and his record sales were almost non-existent. After three years in the business, he faded into obscurity, and rumor had it that he committed suicide (by lighting himself on fire on stage). Little did Rodriguez know, but his debut album sold over half a million copies in South Africa, and is considered as important an album as Abbey Road to the people over there. But Rodriguez never saw a dime of that money, and never even knew that he was a superstar in another country. The film explores the mystery of Rodriguez, why he never got his money, and why he never hit it big.
I think this is such a brilliantly constructed documentary. So well designed and edited. The filmmakers took all the knowledge they had on Rodriguez and they formed a story as good as most fiction films. And it takes twists and turns as good as a Hollywood film as well. I don’t want to give too much away about the story of Rodriguez, because it’s a very rewarding experience to just let it play out in front of your eyes, and it tickled my heart strings. It’s a sad premise, but it turns into a feel good story.
It reminded me a little bit of Anvil: The Story of Anvil, about a band with great potential that didn’t go anywhere, then ends up sinking into depressing obscurity. Only Anvil was more of a comedy, since the guys in that band where ridiculous. But Searching for Sugar Man really explores the depressing nature of being a great artist with nowhere to go but down, and gives you the heartwarming feeling of finally seeing someone’s legacy get its well deserved respect.
It’s only 87 minutes, and the doc is so intriguing that it still felt like it flew by in under an hour. Maybe if you really hate classic rock you won’t like this film as much as I did, but I think you can look past the actual music and still get a lot out of it. I loved it. Searching for Sugar Man is available now on Blu-ray/DVD, and I watched it for $4 on Amazon Prime Instant Video.
9.5 out of 10
As a precursor to my review, let me just explain how the first 30 minutes of the movie were slightly ruined for me…
Premise: A smarmy pretty boy named The Kid meets a young entrepreneur named Mike. Turns out he’s actually a magician by the name of Magic Mike and The Kid becomes his apprentice. Pretty soon they are touring the country doing cool magic tricks like sawing each other in half and making it appear as if they are levitating. Needless to say, a lot of kids had pretty awesome birthday parties because of those two guys. Best family film of the year.