Margot At the Wedding: imdb / trailer

Pip here again, and I’ve finally seen a film I wanted to see since I saw the trailer a while back…

So Noah has made some really good films in the past, and/or had his fingers directly in the film making pie so to speak. He’s also made a… well not so good one, but we won’t hold that against him! He’s now heavily involved in Wes Anderson’s projects, which I believe is a good pairing. After seeing The Squid and The Whale, and now Margot, I really do have some very serious concerns about Noah’s mental health and relationships with his family.

When I saw The Squid…, I was really moved by the story and the characters. I had someone to root for. I had someone to hate, yet secretly like. The parents were disasters, the children weren’t much better off and everything coalesced together in a sort of self-serving family dynamic that not only felt sincere, but real. In a previous outing, my favorite of his directing work to date, Mr. Jealousy (rent of ‘flix it), everyone again was messed up emotionally, but I really loved each of the characters and wanted to see the end of each of the arcs that were masterfully tied together. And then there’s Margot At the Wedding… and the best words I’ve heard that describe it are: too much.

Everyone is trying just a little too hard, from the writing, to the acting, to the characters themselves in their little world. All the characters are just a little too messed up. All the themes he’s used just a few too many times. This leads me to my main concern. The family this person grew up in had to be… interesting. Take his last two films as a case study in textbook somethingaphilia. Especially considering in both of those films characters are shown quoting their life in their written work to a literal ‘T’. Too. Much. I honestly didn’t hate this film, but I’m not sure if I liked it or not. I don’t think I’d give it the chance with a second viewing to see if maybe I didn’t see it from the right point of view, which has helped a few times in the past.

By the end of the film I was just sick of the two main characters and I was left completely dissatisfied. Nothing was gained, nothing was lost, nothing was learned. Mere moments strike out amongst the mishmash as real gems, showing off just what this talent can do. It leaves a viewer and fan more disappointed, and walking away from the credits shaking their head with a sigh.

No Country For Old Men


A Coen Bros. Picture

Pip here, and I got me another review, boy howdie I do!

What a cold and menacing film this is, and it’s a welcome home to a pair of my favorite filmmakers. I say welcome home because they’ve strayed from the ranch a bit. Not to say that they can only do one kind of film, because I think they could probably do any kind of film, but this film and those that are somewhat similar in their catalogue of perfection are what they call Decidedly Coen. There’s just something about them… something… strange.

This sinister mother licker ain’t for the faint of heart. In fact I was about plumb tuckered out by the end, my back was tensed up more than the time I green-broke my first horse. Many have written about the villain, the likes of which we have never seen… well maybe Jaws. Many have written about what happens at the climax and how disappointing or spot-on it was. I’m going to write about none of that, mind you. I’m just going to put out a general word of warning.

No Country For Old Men is adapted from a book, beautifully written though it may be, and suffers and benefits from this fact. As all adaptations do in the end. I always like to look beyond the fact that it was adapted and just sit on the film by itself. I’ll take the book on the same measure. For those that don’t know of (as in have read) the book, for those that do not absolutely love the Coen’s past work (except for Ladykillers… we shall, for sake of argument, pretend that film does not exist and while we’re at it Intolerable Cruelty… funny and witty it was, but it was no Coen Bros. film), for those that do not love stories on the independent (read: not predictable) side, then I simply recommend steering clear of this film.

I do this from time to time and I suppose this is why I’m not a professional critic (that and I don’t know what deadline means). Some films most people either just wouldn’t like, aren’t ready for, would be offended by, et al, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This doesn’t make me superior, in fact it simply labels me as a dork extraordinaire. If you answered “but I do!” to any of the exceptions I placed before my warning, then please do see this film at your earliest convenience. If you don’t love it to pieces, as I do, then you’ll at least walk away with an appreciation for what you witnessed, which is one of the greatest films I’ve seen in a long while, to hell with all those that were jolted out of the ending.

Pip here and fine, ok, I admit it: I’ve been lazy. I’ve seen films on the independent side that I’ve not shared. Well this travesty shall continue on no more! Unfortunately, most of these are gone so you’ll have to Netflix ’em. Onward then, with the three reviews at once!

King of Kong

King Of Kong

When I mentioned this one, lil Rach’ wasn’t so sure, in fact the look on her face was anything but sure when I explained the premise. A doc’ about a bunch of old video game geeks are trying to break the Donkey Kong record……… I’ll let you pause and take that one in. At first I thought it was like those guys that did the doc’ about the staring contest championship. Little did lil Rach’ know, that this was going to be a damn good documentary.

Really, as with any sport – yeah that’s right I said sport – the formula is the same. Either the underdog wins, or he don’t because the underdog needed to learn an important life lesson. So why the hell do we love this stuff so much? It must be something primal, like eating meat from a bone. It just brings the animal out of ya. This one’s no different really, except that the cast of characters are at once so bizarre and so lovable you just can’t help but to laugh and cry right along with them.

Some people might be inclined to point and laugh at the silly geeks. Of course I easily identified with them. At first the folks in the audience would poke fun, or chuckle when they said something about video games that can only be said about ‘real’ sports. Soon though, they latched on to our hero and were along for the ride. I’d highly recommend this one to anyone that likes a good underdog story, but if you love documentaries or video games or both at once, you have no excuse but to seek this out when it hits DVD sometime next year.

Ira and Abby

Ira and Abby

Here’s a movie I’d recommend to my mother, in fact I did. This is one hilarious film that looks at love and the label of marriage pretty darn realistically. Well really that’s the rub of the film: marriage vs. love. Some of the characters have been together forever, some don’t love each other openly, some think they love each other, some are just getting started and of course everyone is tangled up with everyone else. It’s a wild romp of romantic comedy proportions that follows no formula and damnit if Abby is just cute as a button.

I really loved all the players in this one, all the people were living and breathing spewing witty – but not overly written witty – dialogue that had myself and my party laughing out loud on a regular basis. It takes concepts we normally attribute to certain legal contracts and disconnects those things a little, which might maybe stick in a few folks craw I suppose. Hey, if you can have sex without love, you can have marriage without love damnit! Back off! Oppressor!

Fellas, wanna score points? Well then remember Ira and Abby for your queue. Ladies, if you’re looking for a fella to come at you with a romantic comedy… just put down the fantasy and come back to reality. I tried with my scoring points thing, but really… asking a guy to rent a romantic comedy without some sort of compromise or sexual bribery is just plain silly. Unless of course the guy is like me, then he’s just freakin’ awesome.

Into the Wild

Into the Wild

Ok so I had no idea that this one is based on a true story going into this, and really I’m not sure if that knowledge would have enhanced even more the amazing experience that is this film or not. I tell you this because you should know. That’s right, I’m playing God with your mind right now, you can’t deny that kind of power.

Anyway, I can’t remember another film that instigated as long of a conversation as this one. It’s an amazing story, one that makes it even more poignant knowing this stuff really happened. In the beginning I had my pet peeves pushed – I’m not a huge fan of constant back and forth flashback storytelling unless it’s done right. Even when it is done right, sometimes I take longer than others to get into it. That was me at first during this film. But about 20 minutes in, I was hooked. I don’t really agree with a lot of the things that the guy did, but man I sure understood where he was coming from. That total selfishness the main character exhibited was the reason conversation after the film was dominated by his actions. Every person he came across is unforgettable and he is unforgettable to them, but still on his quest forward into the great unknown he constantly abandons until he realizes what he’s done.

I can really relate to the call of the wild. Sometimes I get this desire to just drop everything and run out into the woods… but then that silly reverie is shattered when I click on the StumbleUpon button again and again and again in hopes of finding a funnier video on YouTube. Maybe that means woe for our future… I say our future is going to be all electronic. Tectonic. Break it down.

Until next time – and I’ll try and work on my promptness – Pip signing out.

Darjeeling Limited

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Starring: Three chaps pictured above


I suppose I should preface this mini-review by explaining my love for Wes Anderson. It is total… it is complete… it is with all my soul. I discovered him thanks to an old friend several years back when he sat me down and made me watch Rushmore. It was love at first sight, gushing, adoring love for the creator of that little world. We then discovered his past filmography, we tracked down Bottle Rocket (not an easy feat at the time), watched it and allowed my feelings to become solidified. It was so bad if I was in school and had a notebook, it would be graffitied in blue ink in huge “Slayer” font. I heart Wes Anderson. The first Wes film I saw in the theater was Royal Tennenbaums and I must admit at the time I was unsure if I liked it or not. Now, I think it’s my favorite to date. Strange how they grow on you – I hear this is not an uncommon event. My theory about Tennenbaums is simply that I wasn’t ready for it. When Zissou came around, I sure was and I ate that up like fresh brownies.

On a side note, my favorite sweet (which I only really like three sweets total) is brownies, so if you’re planning on sending in money for site maintenance, send brownies instead.

It was time for a new Wes Anderson film. I think you’ll be surprised when I say that my hetero-curiousity toward the skinny bastard remains, and in fact gets a layer deeper. The story is simple, as are most of his films on the surface, three brothers are going on a journey into India after not talking to each other since their father’s funeral. Like all of his films, it’s the details and character depth that make up the magical equation. Rach made the comment that the film was pretty random, I’d have to agree to a point. The film has a hectic nature to it, always moving forward like a shark… or… a train. But as soon as their itinerary gets off schedule and when they’re not looking for it, that’s when their true journey begins. I think, too, anyone with more than one brother is going to really feel this one. I have three sisters myself, but sometimes I treated them like brothers by beating them up and whatnot, so I think I have some idea. There are many moving moments in this one, some shocking, some hilarious, but all ring true in the Andersonion universe.

Not to be confused with the other god-like Anderson, that review is coming in a few more weeks.

I’m scared though, really. There are maybe four directors or writers that can go through a long career without stumbling once constantly bringing greatness and near perfection out onto the screen. Odds are against Wes that someday he’s going to make a bomb. For some people, that bomb has already happened. Bollocks I say upon thee, he’s only given birth to beauties, this one is no different. If you’re like me and have loved everything he’s done, why are you reading a review about it? Just go see the damn film. If you haven’t liked his past two films, skip this one and save your money. Go see Heatbreak Kid instead, probably more up your alley.

Don’t forget before you go to the theater, go download Hotel Chevalier from iTunes… it’s a prologue of sorts, plus there’s a few extra laughs in the film if you see it first.

The buzz this morning is that Jon Stewart may be returning to host the 80th Academy Awards. Jon Stewart fans everywhere unite with glee including me. ;-)

Heard it from Film School Rejects.

The Darjeeling Limited

Directed by Wes Anderson

Written by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola & Jason Schwartzman

Pip sent this trailer via e-mail today thought I would pass the love so others can possibly share in the anticipation and excitement of this September 29th release.

Broken English Trailer

Broken English:

Director: Zoe Cassavetes


Parker Posie

Melvil Poupaud

Although the film isn’t quite fresh in my mind (saw it over a week ago – I know I’m lazy), I can still see all the details that grow around the edges of the frame. It wasn’t exactly revolutionary as far as plot and whatnot, but it still has a unique enough voice to stand out from even the other indies surrounding it. I really liked this one. I think a good one word review for Broken English would be: Quaint. Sounds manly enough, no?

Parker Posie is a hopeless romantic to the extreme well past her “prime”. She envisioned a world in her youth, I’m sure, that closely resembled a Disneyesque fairy tale. Reality, of course, has plagued upon her all of the dastardly tricks it could muster. She’s quite high strung, depressed and pill-popping just to handle her day to day life. We get to know her, her friends and family as if the film wasn’t in a rush to move things forward. We experience her in and out of her element and see how much of a failure she is in both. Failure might be a strong word, but she’s trying a bit too hard. As the film does move along, it does so with very little exposition which is a nice breath of fresh air. I like a film that just plops you down in this new reality and does a good enough job of explaining everything without explaining. Savvy? Now when I say the film doesn’t rush, it’s not like some three hour epic, but I would be lying if I didn’t say scenes by themselves seem to unfold in close to real time in between the cuts. It pushes that a little, to the point that you know a long time has passed, but I didn’t feel anything was prolonged or unnecessary. Much unlike this last paragraph.

So as we follow the wound up Posie around her non-romantic life, look who shows up: a cute and cuddly French guy with obligatory stubble and conversation inducing hat. I’m not jealous of the “yummy” (ahem, and I quote) Frenchie, but couldn’t a romantic swoon you off your feet kind of fellow have come from somewhere less stereotypical? Idaho, perhaps… or Texas even – that way you wouldn’t have to change the title!

In all seriousness, I did find their chemistry quite genuine and even if he was “yummy” at least I can see why. Posie has a consistent character all the way through the film and never seems to break away from herself just because she found this head-turning guy, this is due to some fine character development, acting, and all the stuff behind the camera, so bravo. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, but all the cynics out there that would never in a billion years run off to some foreign country chasing some person you might fall in love with leaving behind everything you know and love, you’ve obviously never felt the same way… maybe you never will.



Director / Writer: John Carney


Glen Hansard

Markéta Irglová

The setup was something familiar, yet new. “Guy” – aka “Bearded Scott Man” falls for “Girl” – aka “Fleet Fingered Czech Chick”, that’s about the length and breadth of it. It’s the details that make this one special, from the meandering way the pseudo love story evolves and copulates with a kiss on the cheek to the heartfelt singing of the Bearded Scott that tugs just a little at your soul. This, like other music films before it, is basically a love note from the songwriter to the celluloid addicts out there. I haven’t heard Guy’s voice before seeing the trailer some time ago now, nor experienced his lyrics. I, unlike some people I know, haven’t even heard of The Frames before being educated on the matter in a most succinct manner, however I will be sure to seek out and absorb it all henceforth.

I haven’t done a bit of research on the matter (and I don’t plan to considering reality doesn’t work like my favorite stories), but I muse and reverie that all these songs were brought to life in the exact way that we saw unfold in front of us. It’s just… beautiful. Of course, by now you must be thinking that this is the greatest film of the year. What I like to call a “life-altering-experience”. Alas, it is not, for its greatest strength is also its greatest flaw: the music. But wait, you’re thinking, I thought you loved the music?! I did. With the plot and characters as sparse as they were, it felt more like a string of music videos than a proper film.

That said, the wonderful thing about Once is how much was done with so little. Yes the characters had very little screen time to make their mark, but a mark was made. Their story is so endearing and they felt so real, all the development normally necessary for other films would have felt tacked on. I think perhaps my hang-ups with Once are selfish ones: I simply want to know the whole story. I want to experience all those side glances between the lines. I wanted more…

So are you wondering if I really liked the film or not? Well good, ’cause so do I. No matter what, it’s worth watching if only to feel the bleeding heart pumping on to the giant screen through his vocal chords. Check it out.


Hello and welcome to lil Rachel’s blog, no this is not a hostile takeover, but a guest to shed some light upon the celluloid (or in certain cases digital chip) world. You may call me El Presidente Pip, or El Matador for short. I have been called upon to create a top ten list of 2006 for my favorite films. I would like to keep with the vibe of this place and stay truly independent, but alas I cannot. Firstly, I do enjoy a good big-budget pure Hollywood film from time to time. In the right hands (as you’ll see in my list) I get suckered in like the best of the popcorn chugging cell phone answering sumbitches that surround me each time I go to worship my all-points digital THX surround heaven. I love film, movies and straight to video, I don’t discriminate, much like my obsessive love of The Three Stooges – I love all the Curly’s.

(please note, I really don’t have an obsessive love of The Three Stooges, but we have dated once or twice.)

I must, unfortunately, start my list with some sad news. I didn’t get to see every film that came out this year. I saw a good 83.4% of the films I had a yearning to see, but as you know that leaves 19.3% that I didn’t. Of those, I must say that “Children of Men”, “The Queen”, “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “Pan’s Labyrinth”, “Little Children”, “Volver”, “Tsotsi” (2005, I know, but late here), “Half Nelson”, among others that I just can’t remember off the top of my head were casualties of living in the middle of nowhere. My little town, a cozy 300,000+ people, either did not see these in theater, or in all likelihood I couldn’t get someone to come with me in that one week the film was playing, and…

What? Oh, right, the list… (each of the posters will link to the trailer)

10. Edmond

I didn’t see this in theaters, in fact I didn’t even hear about this until I was walking around Target one fateful afternoon and saw Bill’s (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis) face staring out at me. I remember thinking “wtf? How exactly did Bill get into a film without my knowledge??” Blasphemy! My repentance jumped up 10-fold when I saw that it was a Mamet screenplay. I picked it up for a whopping 7.99 (which scared me, Mamet has been known to miss, but Bill?) and I just didn’t understand how this one was swept under a rug. And upon viewing, I really don’t understand. Fans of Mamet and Bill Macy need to check into this one, especially if you’ve not heard of it. I’ve not seen Macy be as tight as he is in this film, and this thing goes to some dark places… of course if I would have written it, all the women would be more nakeder.

9. The Descent

Jesus… Christo… I think I might have screamed out for my mother on numerous occasions while viewing this flick. Luckily, I was pretty much alone in the theater… or unluckily. I don’t think I’m ever going to step foot even near another cave again, let alone go inside one. I’ll take a picture of it with a telephoto lens perhaps. Maybe look at it from afar with a… ok so yeah, I’ll shut up about that. I’m not a huge horror fan, unless they break genre or revolutionize, and this one basically does both. The gore in it is horrendous, not because it’s over-the-top, but because it’s freaking realistic. I think I yelled at the screen for it to stop, but deep down, I didn’t want it to. Well done.

8. Superman Returns

Yeah, I know, I know, two thrillers then we do a superhero movie? Yeah well I really loved this one, I don’t give a damn what anyone says from the ‘tru’ fanboys, to the snobby nose-in-the-air “flickaphobe” (I really need to patent that word). I love the character of Superman, and although I’ve never thought about it as deeply as Bill (the one that died in that one movie), he’s always been special to me. From the time that I ran around the house as a child with a towel strapped to my back wearing only my whities, up until the time I ran around the house as a man with a towel strapped to my back wearing my whities – I’ve always wanted to be him among all the superheroes to choose from. Like, no contest. And in this film, he’s exactly the Superman I’ve always envisioned… I can’t wait for the sequel.

7. Running Scared

Wow, what a night this film rides you through. I literally just finished watching this one, I missed it in the theater and if it weren’t for Ebert’s review I would have never seen it. Speaking of Ebert, he was absolutely right about how over-the-top this damn film is. I know what you’re thinking, this guy is a moron. All he likes are mindless or gory action films and thrillers where Macy goes insane. Just you go and watch this thing. “Paul Walker is a dumbass”, you’ll think walking into it… then when you’re done you’ll be all like “Damn, I’m the dumbass for doubting El Presidente Pip and his cat-like powers.” Don’t get comfortable watching this thing, just when things are going along a groove the entire universe implodes and starts over. Although it is totally unrealistic, I still love it… the poor kids though, they’re going to need some serious therapy.

6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

I never watch TV, but several of my friends recommended “Da Ali G Show” to me knowing that it would be right up my alley. I still haven’t gotten around to it, but I sure as hell did watch the Borat movie. Yes, it’s everything that everyone has said it was, and I laughed really fucking hard. I simply love that it offends everyone and is being sued by everyone it is offending. My kind of movie.

5. Casino Royale

Yeah, there he goes again with his stupid ass action movies – and a Bond movie, no less!! The nerve! I personally like about maybe half of the Bonds that were made, but this one is my personal favorite. I have no real attachment to any of the guys that have played the Bonds of the past, but I will say I do now. Daniel Craig is an excellent actor, and he does this with a scary sort of insanity right around the edges, yet maintains the sexiness of Bond on the whole. Smart, sexy, fun and sprawling. Everything you need in a Bond flick.

4. Marie Antoinette

I really, really dig Ms. Coppola’s style. All of them have been a sort of hypnotic meditation on the story rather than an a-b arc. I always get swept up and this was definitely no exception. I was a bit curious as to what all the bitching about historical accuracy was going on about. It’s been said by much more eloquent hands than these about what it really is about, and really all of her films are about the same thing. I guess it’s really lonely being a girl? Or is it all the girls look at us guys like: “Fuck, that’s all we got?” Thus the lesbian is born. What was I talking about? Oh yeah! If you missed this one for some reason, or liked Ms. Coppola’s other work I highly recommend this one, I loved it to pieces.

3. The Departed

Simply a powerhouse. A lot of whiners were bowing down to this as the best Scorcese in a long time… pssh I say to these folks. He’s been making great films all along the way, this just happens to have so much muscle behind it you can’t not pay attention. This was one of the rare times I saw the original version before it was remade here in The America, and to be honest there were just a few minor things that I missed about the original. Namely little details in the ending… but all in all, everything was perfect. Bravo.

2. Little Miss Sunshine

No other film this year (and since Amelie probably) left me with such a feeling of happiness. This film gives the entire gamut of emotions which I love so much, while still at its core just being an amazing, sweet tale woven together masterfully and acted out with such love that I literally have to gush this out like a Care Bear Stare right into your eyes. Go see it now if you haven’t.

1b. United 93

I went into this film with a lot of trust, and I’m glad I did. I’m sure you’ve heard it to the gills about this movie by now as to how it plays… it’s like you’re there. There is no post-9/11, there is no nothing… there is just that terrible day and you live it. I was punched in the gut really hard by this one, probably sat in my seat trying to compose myself until the ushers were in there picking up popcorn. Doesn’t matter what you think about anything, just see it… prepare yourself, then see it.

1a. The Fountain (yeah I know, couldn’t decide between them)

I will start by saying Aronofsky is probably in my top three of working filmmakers. He connects with me and just makes such beautiful heart-wrenching films. Literally everyone in the theater walked out going “huh?”, I know I was the only one from the people I went with that liked it – let alone liked it enough to make it my fav of the year. I guess it reminded me a bit of 2001 (maybe my favorite film) while bringing a love story into it – and a love story of such power that I was basically in awe of everything about the actors. I will cherish this story always.So here it was… not perfect unfortunately, but until everyone starts sending me copies of screeners of everything, this is just going to have to do.Love,
El Presidente Pip

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