21 May 2013

Chick Flicks

Starlet: Jane is a leggy, fresh-faced young porn starlet specializing in *the-girl-next-door* shoots.  Unlike her two housemates, one a hyper, game-addicted, small-time porn producer and the other a manic harpy porn actress, whose manufactured dramas keep their days packed with plenty of turmoil, Jane seems bored and restless, looking for something (besides her precious tiny dog--named Starlet) to fill her many empty afternoons.  Hoping to find cast-offs to brighten up her bare bedroom (which doubles as a set for the porn producer's pov cheapies), Jane goes off for a day of thrift shopping.  At an old bag's garage sale, Jane finds a '60s-era thermos, which she first mistakes for an urn (in a clever bit of foreshadowing), and then a vase.  She bickers about the purpose of the item for a minute or two with the crusty old bag, buys it and returns home to find it is stuffed with rolls of one hundred dollar bills.  This story gimmick sets up a rather shopworn dilemma: what's a poor leggy porn girl to do?  Keep the money?  Return it?  Change the world with it?  Exhibiting no qualms about her own lifestyle, and very little about the lifestyles of her housemates, Jane is apparently unaccustomed to dealing with *situational ethics.*  Conflicted, in a *two steps forward, one step backward* fashion, Jane begins building a relationship with the old bag.  And that's pretty much all there is to Starlet, a mellow, leisurely, intergenerational buddy movie. . .though Jane and the old bag never really quite become friends. Theirs is more a relationship of surrogacy, as the rather spare script suggests Jane has a strained relationship with her mother, and the movie's graveyard finale reveals the old bag's void (there's also a rather clumsy micro subplot in which the old bag's house of '60s bric-a-brac is taken by *city officials* for hoarding, but which in retrospect we realize is just the old bag's memorializing). Most of the film is taken up with mildly amusing Mutt-and-Jeff moments between Jane and the old bag. . .there are plenty of bingo hall culture clashes which nearly produce a chuckle or two.  Starlet is a warm-bed-filled-with-fluffy-pillows of a movie. . .soft, comfortable, drowsy (even including its brief naughty porn moments).  In truth, there really isn't much to recommend the movie. . .except for Dree Hemingway, the latest of Papa Hemingway's jailbait girl offspring to try a hand at acting. Better-looking than her mother Mariel and her aunt Margaux, Dree seems a natural as the XXX peaches-and-cream Jane.  Is she acting, or merely playing herself?  The script probably doesn't require much of a stretch for Ms. Hemingway.  But if there were an Academy Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in Short Shorts and Cutesy Panties, Dree would win in a landslide. She's the Eye Candy which keeps this slight, kind-of-feel-good movie from becoming instantly forgettable.

Though Starlet might not be a masterpiece, it's leagues beyond the horror that is:

Zero Dark Thirty. . .a supposed *thriller* about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  This is one of the most critically acclaimed AmerICKan movies of recent years.  Ha.  It's almost as boring as another AmerICKan classic, Saving Private Ryan.  Zero Dark Thirty would have us believe that bin Laden was eventually found and killed all due to the dogged efforts of one female CIA officer, Maya, played by somebody named Jessica Chastain, a redhead with a big nose and a jack-o'-lantern mouth.  Given the lethal-but-laughably mistaken targets of their drone operations, I find it hard to believe one, or even a hundred-and-one, CIA *officers* could find bin Laden.  But anyways, back to the preposterous propaganda, er, movie.  Maya has a pet theory about bin Laden which, of course, everybody else in the CIA sneers at, but which, of course, eventually proves true.  Maya nurses her pet theory for 10 long years until some other chick finds an old file somewhere with a picture of some sand nigger in it which somehow everybody had overlooked but which somehow proves Maya's theory is right. . .whatever.  It doesn't really matter. This might have been an interesting movie, except for one little problem: Maya is one of the least interesting characters you'll ever see.  In this nearly three hour long pseudo-epic, Maya spends most of her time staring off into space, apparently meant to convey how deep and total her obsession is to find bin Laden.  . .the tedium is only slightly broken every 45 minutes or so when she has a temper tantrum when someone scoffs at her theory, and, near the end of the movie, when she repeatedly and furiously attacks her bosses door with a red Sharpie, marking the number of days the boss has somehow failed her.  Though the movie covers ten years, Maya doesn't appear to age at all, has no personal life, and exhibits only one minor and utterly predictable character development: initially she is queasy about torture, but soon becomes a calloused advocate of it.  The only interesting characters in the movie are a couple of the torture victims, which may be due more to sympathy from a shared fate (watching this tedious film is about as fun as waterboarding) than to any competencies in the script.  The Grand Finale, the *heroic* SEAL mission to kill bin Laden, is shot in video game night vision green, an absurd attempt to convey gravitas on what in reality was little more than a bunch of over-armed soldiers shooting fish in a barrel, and is just as slow-moving and lacking in tension as the rest of the film.

Idea for a t-shirt:

I Survived 9/11 And All I Got Was This Shitty Movie   

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