Saturday, January 14, 2012

RANDOM WEEKLY MOVIE REVIEWS: EDITION 20: "RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES," "HORRIBLE BOSSES," "LIMITLESS", "MR. NICE", "MAKING THE BOYS", "FAREWELL," "THE TOURIST," "THE FREEBIE," AND MORE!

Wow! I've written twenty of these lists of movie reviews already. Time flies. Not a whole lot of news on the blog itself. Since nobody ever answered any of the poll questions I put up, I've taken that off the blog, and inserted a twitter update. Our blog already has over 70 followers on twitter in fact, and it's growing everyday. I want to showcase one of the followers, his name is Rex Pickett, he's the author of the book for the film "Sideways," he started following me after I posted my Canon of Film blog on the movie "Sideways," last week. I actually forgot to mention that I had read the novel to the film in my Canon of Film entry on the film, and how amazing an adaptation that film actually is, 'cause there's a lot in the book that either didn't make it into the movie or is told differently in the film, and it's definitely worth a comparison. Pickett actually started in film and then became an author later, and he wrote an amazing 6-part blog about his experiences from writing "Sideways," on spec, and how it took years to have anything happen to it, that's a very good read if anybody's interested in that sort of thing. I posted a link to it on my Facebook earlier, and I'm gonna repost it on my twitter later today.

Alright, on to this week's reviews!

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) Director: Rupert Wyatt

3 STARS

If you ever thought it would be a good idea to combine "The Flowers of Algernon," with the fourth of the "Planet of the Apes," movies, ("Conquest of the Planet of the Apes") then "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," might just be for you. (Also, if you've ever actually thought about that, than I'd suggest psychiatric treatment, immediately.) I've seen all five of the original "Planet of the Apes," movies, although I haven't gotten to the Tim Burton remake, yet. "Rise..."  isn't so much a remake, but a reimagining of the original origin story, but there's plenty of winks and nods at the original film for those who are fans, including a creative reintrepation of the original movie's most famous line of dialogue. Will (James Franco), is a medical research scientist who's looking mainly, for a cure for his father (John Lithgow, always great) who's begun suffering from Alzheimer's. The company he works for tests their experimental drugs on chimpanzees that are taken from the wild. After a disastrous effect for one drug, all the chimpanzees that are in storage have to be destroyed. One, is survived just after his mother gives birth to him, and Will takes him home, and begins raising him like a pet, or a baby. Or a chimpanzee really, but one who seems to have developed an unusual amount of intelligence that was passed on to him through his mother, who was drugged. Naming him Caeser (Andy Serkis in motion-capture, again. How does he get all this work?), he starts to grow and pass many intelligent tests, and learns sign language. Will is helped by the local veterinarian at the zoo (Frieda Pinto), and they start to bond and after a few years, they're basically what would be the equivalent of Caeser's mother and father. Meanwhile, Will still works on that disastrous, all-curing wonderdrug. (Don't scientist know by now that one thing is never going to cure all?). All grown up though, Caesar soon gets in trouble, and is forced to live in an ape sanctuary that's not so much a sanctuary, as it is a prison for apes. The local ape sanctuary jailor (Dodge Landon), has nothing but disgust for his job and the monkeys. The job he has 'cause he's the son of the head of the sanctuary (Brian Cox), but soon, Caeser starts to make alliances, and begin figuring out how to outsmart the guard, and eventually start an uprising. Overall, I came out of the film, admiring certain parts of the movie enough to recommend it. The motion-capture is one-of-the-best I've ever seen; I'm almost positive it's going to get an Oscar nomination for the special effects, and it should. Andy Serkis might get a BAFTA nomination for Supporting Actor as well, (Maybe outside shot for an Oscar nod, but that's unlikely) although, I think you can argue that this is really a lead actor performance. I don't know how or why he is the ultimate go-to guy for motion capture performances, but he is, and he's incredibly good here. And yet, I was never fully able to let myself get swept away into the film. I like the original "Planet of the Apes," movies, and if you're knowledgeable about them, you'll find more than a few references to it, including a poorly-named spaceship called the Icarus, just taking off, and probably getting lost, never to be heard from for a couple thousand years. But, even with just smart dialogue, this film could've been improved greatly. "This drug could save the world", or any variation thereof is a stupid line in general, but also an obvious fact to the person the line is said to, and henceforth should never, and would never would have been uttered in any believable universe, ours or in a movie. There's a few other examples of that. This movie really is relying on the special effects and the action sequences. And some are quite good. There's a great scene showing the passage of time, where Caesar masters the climbing of trees and swinging of zines, that hasn't been seen and/or done so well since Disney's "Tarzan". It's amazing what motion-capture can do; we used to have to draw that scene out for pages and pages.

HORRIBLE BOSSES (2011) Director: Seth Gordon

4 STARS

If "Horrible Bosses," has a flaw, it's that it actually doesn't go far enough for me. It's starts out with a great premise for a comedy. Actually it's a great premise for a thriller. Borrowing from one my favorite Hitchcock films "Strangers on a Train," three lifelong friends who get together and have beers after work, come to the ultimate decision that each one of them, should kill one of the other's bosses. The three bosses do in fact, all deserve to be killed. Nick (Jason Bateman) works like a dog and gets berated, insulted and dehumanized by his boss Dave (Kevin Spacey, doing his brillaint Kevin Spacey thing, and doing it well), all for a vice president promotion that Dave decides instead to give himself, and is deadly serious when he says that if he quits, he'll write a negative recommendation and make sure he never works anywhere. Kurt works at a lumber company under a good boss, Mr. Pellit (Donald Sutherland) who treats him like a son, and promises the company to him, but drops dead before he can write that promise down, and now his cokehead, sex-addict son (Colin Farrell, barely recognizable) takes over the company, and begins disintegrating everything his father did, and calling Kurt gay in about sixty or seventy different ways. Dale (Charlie Day) is engaged to be married, and is generally happy as a dental assistant, but his boss (Jennifer Aniston), is continually sexually harassing him, and insisting he starts having sex with her, preferably while one of her patients is knocked out, or, he'll show his girlfriend photo shes took of Dale, in compromising positions with her, photos she took of him, when she knocked him out on anesthesia. In describing Julia's (Aniston) sexual appetite, the word psycho-sexual-maneating-nymphomaniac, is not a strong enough adjective. After coming up with the idea, the three guys seek out advice from a hitman named-, eh, let's call him,  M.F. Jones (Jamie Foxx), the M.F. standing for, exactly what you think that stands for, and they start plotting out ways to kill each of their bosses. Breaking into houses, having sex with their wives, beind seduced by one of them (And yes, the one that you think does the seducing does the seducing), most of them, trying extremely hard not to leave any fingerprints or DNA around. (I should've underlined "most" there) All-in-all bumbling their way through crimes, they're clearly not professional enough to commit. "Horrible Bosses," is dirty, raunchy, abrasive, uses loosely every 4, 7 and 12-letter curse word you can imagine, and it's very funny. What's transpires out of their act, I won't describe, but I do wish they bumbled through their potential crimes a little more than they actually did. It almost ended up too neat and clean at the end. But, this movie is still too funny to nitpick. Spacey, Farrell, and Aniston, are really having fun chewing the scenery and then spitting it out on their helpless employees. They really are as interesting if not moreso than the people trying to kill them, and they clearly had fun with this, and especially Aniston, must have absolutely no fears as an actress. As big as she is, she really should be a bigger star. Oh, by the way, this is not a movie that should ever be seen in "edited for content" version for TV. Never, ever, ever!

LIMITLESS (2011) Director: Neil Burger

1 1/2 STARS

"Limitless," starts with an interesting premise, but has absolutely no idea what to do with it. When the movie begins, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a down-and-out writer with a bad case of writer's block. His girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), has left him, and he looks and dresses like a bum with a crack addiction, except for the fact that he looks like Bradley Cooper. Then, he gets ahold of an experimental drug his ex-brother-in-law is peddling called NZT. What does NZT do? According to the movie, it increases your intelligence. How do they show intelligence? He suddenly develops an eidetic memory, and can suddenly recall obscure facts in the deep recesses of his brain that he didn't even realize he knew. I guess the filmmakers don't realize that memory and intelligence have almost nothin to do with each other, but, oh well. It helps him put off the landlady, helps him get laid, helps him finish that book that's long overdue from the publisher, in fact, he finishes two, and then he starts to try and figure out how to make money from it, by playing and mastering the stock market. Making money, and intelligence, again two things that have nothing to do with each other, except because of this movie. The pill is in short supply however, and it's starting to have side-effects, when he takes too much. When he finally tracks down his friend's little black book, who's long-since been killed off, he calls name after name to find them in the hospital dying, or dead already, and he's starting to have some of the symptoms, just as a headhunting business executive (Robert De Niro, who really should find better projects by now) who's on the verge of orchestrating a game-changing business merger, and hopes that Eddie is his secret weapon. This movie has no idea what it means to be intelligent, or for that matter, the definition of the word, nor does it have any creative idea what to do with that intelligence, other than become rich and powerful, and get his old girlfriend back, hopefully before ODing on the drug, or before somebody else who's addicted, kills him for the drug. "Limitless," was just unnerving. There's a decent idea here, but it gets caught up in typical Hollywood action thriller material, and frankly it didn't really know what to do with it's idea anyway.

MR. NICE (2011) Director: Bernard Rose

4 STARS

Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) began life as a middle-class Welsh kid who was constantly beaten up, until other kids realized he was smart, then they beat him up some more. When he got into Oxford, it was possibly the biggest thing to ever happen in his hometown. Once in Oxford, he partied with all the sex and drugs of the '60s hippie scene until he got his teaching degree. Then, he became one of the biggest and most mysterious drug-dealers in the world. "Mr. Nice," tells his story. There seems to always be a new movie or two a year now based on the real-life exploits of a drugrunner, drug kingpin, or someone in that line of work. "Mr. Nice," is a good one. Marks admits in the beginning, that he became a drug dealer, because he wanted to smoke all the marijuana he could, but there was too much of it. He has a few different characters surrounding him almost at all times. Jim McCann (David Thewlis) a notorious head of the NRA, becomes useful as somebody to finger at a moment of need. Other times, he can make a call to an MI-6 agent (Christian McKay, from "Me and Orson Welles"), who approached him and tried to hire him, knowing that he often made trips to the Middle East to check on the "nordle" that he's shipping. Come to think of it, an international druglord would probably make a good spy, but for Marks, that was just another avenue for him to explain and continue his lifestyle. He's bored and broke when he isn't selling. His wife (Chloe Sevigny) both knows that he's trading, hell,  she first suggested the idea to him, and wishes that he would stop. He gets caught in about three different countries. Skips bail in a couple, and remains out-an-about after faking his own kidnapping to escape one trial. Finally, after a deal in Vegas, doesn't go through because of the most accidental of errors at an airport, he's arrested in America. He's as surprised as anybody that he is given parole years later. "Mr. Nice," titled after one of Howard Marks dozens of aliases, doesn't do much more than tell his story, but it's good well-made film. I don't know how much else there is to the film. After watching it, I came away kinda cold. This is the first film I've seen from director Bernard Rose, he's previously made "Immortal Beloved," and "Ivansxtc," to name a few films. He a good director, but I came away from the film more of a appreciation of the knowledge of the man, than any particular feeling one way or another for Howard Marks. Is he supposed to be a hero, or a tragic tale to tale? I wasn't sure at the end. There's numerous times he begins diatribes saying that marijuana should be legal; he even uses it as a defense at one of his trials. The judge even seems to agree with him, despite the harsh sentence. You're not gonna change your opinion on that subject one way or another by watching this film though. I was entertained, but ultimately "Mr. Nice," is strangely hollow to me.

MAKING THE BOYS (2011) Director: Crayton Robey

3 STARS

I don't whether or not it's a good sign or a bad sign, that many of the younger generation of homosexual icons don't even know what "The Boys in the Band", is, but it is telling. Mart Crowley's play, is the first major work where homosexuals were viewed as in a positive and human light. The story is that a bunch of friends who come together for a friend's birthday party. That's actually about it. They talk about a lot of things, love mostly, but considering every other characterization of homosexuals in theatre and film at that time, either ended in the homosexual character committing suicide or becoming a violent criminal of some kind, it was revolutionary. In "Making the Boys," it interviews many of the surviving members of the cast, the writer, and many historians, who really are just now, starting to piece together the significant historic events that have led to the civil rights that the LBGT community is just starting to get, and in many ways, while it doesn't seem like it at times, they've still got a long way to go. My high school history book, doesn't even have a paragraph about the Stonewall Riots. "The Boys in the Band," played a huge part in the early fight for Gay Civil Rights. Although the play has its detractors. Today, the play comes off as somewhat stereotypical. Better works would come later. Many of the cast didn't survive to see them, many swallowed up by the AIDS epidemic, some by drugs. A lot of the actors were typecasted for the rest of their careers, and had trouble getting work after. The movie has a lot of interviews and talking heads. Crowley is the most interesting figure analyzed. He wrote an amazing pilot script for Bette Davis's TV show, that included a gay character that was written for Paul Lynne, but the network forced him to rewrite the character as a female. He was also close with Natalie Wood, and a few other celebrities. "Making the Boys," is an okay documentary. It's nothing special. I'd recommend seeing the play, or reading it, or maybe seeing the movie before watching it. It helps to know it's story, and it's importance. It's been revived on Broadway few times in recent years, and it should be. But the story of the play, doesn't really outshine the play itself, which is probably a good thing.

FAREWELL (2010) Director: Christian Carion

4 STARS

I've seen so many spy movies, that I wonder which movie is the most accurate in terms of what it meant to actually be a spy. I think it is nowhere near as glamourous as some films make it out to be. In "Farewell," based on an actual incident that basically revealed all secret Russian spy programs in America, and became one of the first steps towards the Fall of the Soviet Union, is surprisingly convuluded, surrealistic, messy, and I have no doubt, completely true. The Russian Colonel who turns on his country is Sergey Gregoriev (Emir Kustrica). He has a wife and kids, and a mistress, and except for his profession, seems like any typical father. He spends half the movie trying to find cassettes of Queen for his daughter. The American's won't immediately trust a Soviet defector, and he doesn't want to defect anyway. He has to give the information to a low-level French diplomat (Pierre Fromont), who eventually has to turn the information into information out of French intelligence, which seems to have turned recently into a more Soviet-friendly government, much to the dismay of Pres. Reagan (Fred Ward). Not only does France, have to seem like they've acquired the information, then it's convincing those above to turn the info over to America. The elaborate amount of balls in the air, is confusing but most of the time, the movie continually moves forward. I couldn't completely explain everything that happened in the film, but that's a good thing. If it was too neat, it wouldn't be believable. What does the U.S. do with the information? What can they do, really? They capture a few spies, turn a few defectors, but just them knowing what the U.S.S.R. was trying to do is enough. They're plans being foiled is far more devastating to them, than any action the U.S. could've done. It's a convuluted web, but it's a good little tale of how messy history really can be. It's a telling clue that Reagan continually watches "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," this is another movie about how history and legend can get a little twisted around.

THE TOURIST (2010) Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmark

2 1/2 STARS

Part of me kinda like the absurdity of "The Tourist," but it doesn't really work, which is surprising actually. This is the second feature directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, who's got an unfortunately long name, but his first film was the amazing "The Lives of Others," which won the Foreign Language Film Oscar a few years back. That movie's stuck in my head since, and-, I'm just gonna call him, FHVD, from here on in, and FHVD, from some of the interviews of him I'm seen, struck me as somebody unusually thoughtful about Hollywood cinema, and should be a natural choice for an action-mystery like this one. Oscar-winning screenwriters Julian Fellowes and Christopher McQuarrie also have a hand in writing this film, and Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, are pretty well-cast in "The Tourist", as a mysterious MI-5 Agent-turned-traitor, Elise (Jolie) after getting a little too involved in an undercover project with a theif she ends up marrying, and as an American math teacher, Frank (Depp), who Elise, pretends to be her husband in order to get a few people off her trail. Her husband has gone deep into hiding, and has many different men out to kill him. He's apparently gone through extensive plastic surgery and changed his look, even Elise has no idea what he looks like anymore. There's a little bit of "North By Northwest," in this, especially where Depp and Jolie meet on the train, and have a rather intriguing conversation. Maybe if it was a little quicker-paced, it might have worked better. It takes its time, for reasons that aren't particularly clear. The plot is so odd, you might as well tell the story with sharp quick-cut edits, and more humor would've helped. "The Tourist," is famous for getting three surprise Golden Globe nominations last year, after apparently Sony Pictures, took a few Globe members on a Vegas trip. This had an opportunity to be more fun than it actually turned out, and that's disappointing. FHVD will get over this. He's too talented a filmmaker for this simple slip-up to stop him. Better luck next time FHVD.

THE FREEBIE (2010) Director: Katie Aselton

5 STARS



For all logical purposes, there should be no real link between sex and love. Our minds tell us that. Our bodies even tell us that. There should be no reason why two people in a committed relationship, a marriage even, shouldn't be able to go and have sex with someone else, and have it mean nothing, because their in love with each other. These are the logical thoughts that lead Annie (Katie Aselton) and Darren (Dax Shepard), a cute, young married couple, to go out and make a very stupid decision. "The Freebie," begins with Annie and Darren, going through the motions as they embark on a dinner with a bunch of their married friends. (I never did understand why married people suddenly only start hanging out with married people.) They get into a discussion about how they might have miss out on a lot. They conceive of a one-night only plan, to have a freebie, where they go out separately, and get laid, under the provision that there be no questions or discussions afterwards. A one-night stand, to get any leftover sexual curiosity over with. I'm not gonna say what happened over that one night, or anything else that happened afterwards. Except to say that a bartender and a barista were involved. One of them, comes home, doing what looks like a walk of shame at six in the morning, but it's left a little open-ended what's occurred, but clearly, the dynamic of the relationship has changed, in ways they thought either wouldn't, or at least they thought, they might be able to handle. This the first directing job for Katie Aselton. She's mainly an actress, currently a regular on the show "The League," with her husband, Mark Duplass, who's part of the Duplass Brothers, the leaders of the U.S. Mumblecore Movement of Independent Film ("The Puffy Chair," "Baghead," and "Cyrus"). The Duplass Brothers love as much conflict to be in a film as possible. Aselton, interestingly, while there's conflict, keeps it somewhat subtler, beneath the surface for much of the film. When Darren and Annie finally break their own rule and talk about what happened, the conversation gives us just as many questions as it does answers, for us, and for them. They've learned something about each other and themselves, that might have been better had they not known it. It's amazing how natural the conversation is. Apparently, all the dialogue was improvised. Doesn't sound that way. I wonder if Aselton's a Dorothy Parker fan. I thought about her short story "The Standard of Living," after watching this movie. That story is also about two people, who decide to ponder the realities of their what-if's, only to have reality shatter their fantasies. "The Freebie," is surprisingly strong, realistic film, about two people who decide to answer their what-if's, and get their reality completely altered.

MARNIE (1964) Director: Alfred Hitchcock

5 STARS

"Marnie," (Tippi Hedren) is one of Hitchcock's most intriguing females protagonists. It's also one of his stranger movies. It starts out like a thriller, with Marnie, being a mysterious figure who's a master of disguise (or at least hair dye) who's just robbed her latest employer of almost $10,000. In a hotel room, she dies her hair, switches her social security cards to another name, which are all neatly hidden in a hand mirror, and suddenly, she's ready to go back home and be Marnie, as she visits her mother (Louise Latham, playing older than she actually was). Her mother spends her days watching over a neighbor kid, and seeming all Mrs. Cleaver, but she shrills up suddenly around her daughter. Marnie is already onto her next con, the Rutland company, which is run by Mark (Sean Connery), the son who saved the company from disaster in the last few years. He's on to Marnie, but doesn't let her know until she makes her move, partly out curiosity and hoping to catch her, and partly out of desire, and hoping to fall in love with her. Marnie, is strikingly frigid though, even for a young Sean Connery. After striking a proposal instead of a plea bargain, they're off on a long honeymoon cruise. Connery finally forces her, but it's clear that his desires are no match for her problems. A fear of storms, and the color red that leave Marnie paralyzed, and these dreams that she can never seem to understand. With the help of his ex-sister-in-law Lil (Diane Baker), and that relationship certainly has some unanswered questioned behind it, they start to slowly piece together Marnie's trouble, even if Marnie herself has no intention of finding out what they are. Hitchcock made some intriguing choices with this movie. The Lil character was actually a male character in the novel, who was also in love with Marnie, and why he changed him to this odd female character is hard to figure. He also took entire scenes which were supposed to be with a psychiatrist and gave them to Connery, who happens to be the only rich company owner willing to put up with Marnie, and happens to have a fascination with animal and human behavior, that makes her damaged soul attractive to him. I'm always the one that argues that "Vertigo," is overrated because the plotline is too improbably to be believable, but "Marnie," has so many leaps of improbability, that I think I just found it more accepting. The character is unrealistic to begin with, it makes that the situations she gets herself into also seem improbable. "Marnie," is one of Hitchcock's best psychological thrillers. It's mysterious, suspenseful, it's erotic even, and it's also a good journey for a film. It's constantly changing direction from where one might think the movie's heading, and that roller coaster ride is just plain old creepy fun.

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982) Director: Nicholas Meyer

4 1/2 STARS

Having been a "Star Trek: The Next Generation," fan for most of my life, I'm only really seeing the importance of the original series, and that includes going back and looking at those original "Star Trek" movies. I'm still not the most regular viewer of the show, but when I do watch it, I usually enjoy it. The movies, have been more or a mixed bag, overall, but I've long heard the "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," is considered one of, if not, the best of the films. Well, I'm still partial to the "TNG," movies, particularly "Star Trek: First Contact," but "The Wrath of Khan," lives up to its hype. (And is way superiour to the first film, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," which was strikingly boring.) The crew now spend much of their time training Starfleet cadets. Admiral Kirk, (William Shatner) is already long bored with his mostly ceremonial role, although the constant conversations and disagreements with Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley, I don't know why I'm telling you who's playing these roles, as though you don't already know). The Enterprise is now mainly used as a training ship, filled with Cadets. The main one, a Vulcan named Saavik (Kirstie Alley), a protege of Spock, who's struggling to understand the no-win scenario test at the Academy. On an routine training mission however, news comes in that brings the ship suddenly back into service, as the sudden resurgance of a long-thought gone Klingon warrior, Khan (Ricardo Montalbon) has suddenly reemerged, and is after Capt. Kirk, for placing him on an abandoned planet for the last fifteen years, killing most of his crew and his family in the process. All the while, a nearby research facility is working on a mysterious project called "Genesis," that may or may not be ready to be released. The project's name by the way, is an apt clue as to what the project is. This leads to a very intriguing battle of wills and smarts between Khan and Kirk, that's full of surprises, and an ending that will certainly effect diehard fans of the series. I have to say, I think it'll be hard for any of the other Star Trek movies to be better than "...Khan," but I'll get to them later anyway. Even if one or two is half as good, it'll be pretty entertaining.

THE CHANCES OF THE WORLD CHANGING  (2006) Director: Eric Daniel Metzger

3 STARS

Never released theatrically in America, "The Chances of the World Changing" is a documentary that earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 2006. The movie follows the exploits of former writer/artist-turned-conservationist Richard Ogust. Ogust had become famous as one of only-in-New York City stories, after he began filling his apartment with thousands of endangered animals, beginning with some rare turtles and tortoises. Rarely do people realize the wide variety of turtles there are, just the colors and the designs of them were startling. Things have long gotten out-of-hand though, and he's being kicked out of his apartment. Ogust buys up some space in New Jersey that would be a perfect place for a sanctuary and institution, to conserve, study, and breed the animals. It's also a good spot to possible put the tortoises, and now begins a long process of transferring the animals across the river and into New Jersey. That is, until numerous road blocks start getting put up. That he doesn't foresee, and really has no way of defeating. This Noah-esque dream of this incredible institute, slowly turns into an essential mad dash, to get other conservationists to take the animals. The movie is a little long. And for a so-called eccentric character, I actually found Ogust, only mildly intersting. I think the images of his project, and it's eventual demies are worthy of being documented though, so it's a mild recommendation.

SUMMER '04 (2006) Director: Stefan Krohmer

2 STARS

According to the imdb.com page for the movie "Summer '04," the ages of the kids are a lot younger than I realize they were when I was watching the movie. Maybe that's me not paying as close attention to the subtitles as I should have, but I don't think it would have effected my opinion of the movie. Take Livia (Svea Lohde) she is a friend of Nils (Lucas Kotaranin), and he's invited her to be with him for the summer with his parents Miriam and Bill (Martina Gedick and Robert Seeliger, respectively) at their coastal summer home. Livia, then goes on to seduce Andre (Peter Davor) an older neighbor that's friends with Miriam and Bill. She's got a libertine point of view of the world, and seems to be seducing everyone at times. I thought, college-age too. You're wrong, the boy is 15-years old, and his over-sexual Lolita girlfriend is 12. I wouldn't have been able to guess it either, and I watched the movie. It adds to the dynamic of the movie, but it doesn't really make it better. They don't act like young teenagers usually act to me, even the sexual ones. Nils is oblivious to most of Livia's extra-curricular activites, but Livia seems to work like she used "Basic Instinct," as a guide book on how to survive in life. Miriam, is very annoyed at Livia's behavior, and decides to start having an affair with Andre herself, but it's no use Andre is in love with Livia. Then, there's a scene on a boat that I'm not gonna describe any further, other than to say that, why does anybody ever go sailing in movies, especially with only one or two other people? "Summer '04," is part erotic thriller, a la, eh, "Unfaithful," is probably the closest American comparison (Which was also a movie I didn't like), and part typical French character study, although this film is actually German. At the end of the movie, there's one last unexpected declaration from Livia, I don't particularly though what to make of it. The same way I didn't know what to make of the revelations in the second half of "Unfaithful", either actually. A sudden event happens, and then nothing really comes of the event, and nothing seems particularly resolved. I guess there's some personal revelations, and character change, but it felt more like plot manipulation than actual human development. It's a variation, on a theme, but I can name a lot of variations, that are far superior. Can't really recommend this one.
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