November 26, 2007

Movies on DVD Review

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My review of a 1981 French art-pop and 2 animated movies on DVD

RATATOUILLE C
Once again I find myself in the minority who did not like this much-loved animated movie about a rat who loves to cook gourmet food. My question to Disney: WHY A RAT? The symbol of all things foul and putrid: bubonic plague, sewers, garbage, and all sorts of diseases associated with it being dirty. AND WHY A MOVIE ABOUT COOKING WITH A RAT? Unlike cute cartoon drawn mice Mickey and Minnie the rats in this movie are so life-like with their gray fur and pink noses, paws and tails. Eww, eww, eww, yuck! The characters and script did not appeal to me at all. I did not laugh the entire time I was watching because all the characters are repulsive to me specially the young man, Alfredo Linguini, who is so painfully irritating and repetitive. Not a single character is adorable but rather it's full of cliched and overused personalities: the angry strong chick, arrogant critic voiced by a British actor, and the dwarf sinister dark skinned thin mustachioed villain again voiced by a British actor. And I really hated the first 10 - 15 minutes with the crazy woman shooting and destroying her own house. Not. Funny. I was wishing she would accidentally shoot herself or the chandelier would fall on her. There was very little cooking shown so what is the point. The ending was so disgusting with the rats having their own dining room at a mezzanine floor overlooking the main dining room. I do not like to see RATS that look like real rats and not cartoon rats in the same restaurant in a cartoon, ick!

SHREK THE THIRD B+
I have enjoyed the first 2 Shrek movies and I was not totally disappointed with this installment. It is far from flawless, some of the jokes are a little too gross a la Austin Powers but I still liked the movie. Who can resist Puss, he's so cute. The High School scene is a little bit corny, I must admit, but tolerable. Although the movie is a little bit crowded with so many new characters, I love the addition of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Belle. What can I say, the animation and soundtrack are superb. Paul McCartney's Live and Let Die during the king's pond funeral and the women charging to rescue Shrek with Heart's Barracuda as background music are excellent choices and made me smile. Highly recommended if you don't mind a few flatulence gags.

DIVA A++
I am wondering why I have never heard of this 1981 French movie before it appeared in our Netflix recommendation corner. It is such a gem, I love love love it. It has everything I like: comedy, action, suspense, fantasy, romance, bad guys, weird people, fantastic chase scene, and operatic aria.
This is not your average boy meets girl in the romantic city of Paris. It's much more than that. The male lead, a 19-year old postal courier Jules, is in love with an American soprano, the Diva of the title, who in her entire career refuses to be recorded. During her latest recital he recorded her with his expensive recording equipment so he can listen to her whenever he likes which is every time he is home. He managed to steal the dress the Diva wore at the recital, brought it home where there is a large poster of her, and holding the dress while listening to the illegal recording. I know, it seems creepy but I didn't see it in that sense, I can't explain why. Now come the bad guys, 2 sets of them: the hired thugs working for the corrupt Police Chief, and the Taiwanese businessmen who also want to have a bootleg recording of the Diva. One of the thugs is an awl wielding psycho, called Le curé, played by rubber-faced (or to Filipinos mukhasim) Dominic Pinon of Amelie, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, A Very Long Engagement, etc. He has very few lines which always start with I DON'T LIKE...cars, car garages, Beethoven, elevators, etc. Jules also befriended the oddest couple in Paris. He is a 30-something male (who is also a master criminal or thief) and his female companion, a young girl, Alba, whose preoccupation is thievery, she stole a music record using photos of herself naked or in sexy poses to distract the store clerk. They live in a very large unfurnished loft apartment with just cushions to sit on, hammocks for beds, and a bathtub on one side of the apartment. But the guy is a gourmet of sorts, teaching Jules the art of making a baguette sandwich, i.e., using a knife that has the precise thinness, how much butter to spread, and so on. This weird couple helped Jules get rid of the 2 sets of villains all at once. All the characters, except the Diva who only has interaction with Jules, crossed paths when the mistress of the police chief placed an incriminating recording she made in Jules' delivery bag. I like the chase sequence which IMHO is second only to Bullitt's. Jules was riding a friend's motorbike going up and down stairs, in and out of the Metro, in and out of the train, the poor policeman chasing him was no match. Spoiler Alert: To make the story short, all the bad guys perished, he became friends with the diva (she sang Bach/Gounoud's Ave Maria and an aria from an Italian opera called The Wally) who forgave him for the recording agreeing to listen to it. I so love this very stylish plot driven movie that I watched it again the very next day.


8 comments:

Ruy said...

Great reviews!
Come to think of it, the thought of a rat cooking is quite disgusting.

oggi said...

ruy, thanks.
If the rats had been cartoon-like instead of looking realistic they would not be too icky.:)

Dhanggit said...

unfortunately i cant give my opinion yet.;i still havent seen any of those movie..specially ratatouille..but its puzzling for me too why rat..??

oggi said...

dhanggit, I'm one of the very few people who did not like it and judging from the high rating it got, I might be wrong, or just repulsed by rats.:)

raissa said...

I am one of those who have no plans of watching Ratatouille. There is just something about rats around food that doesnt sit well with me. No matter how many people liked it, I think I will pass.

oggi said...

raissa, good to know I'm not alone!:)

Marvin said...

Hi oggi! I have to disagree with you about Ratatouille. I loved the movie! You're right about rats and food, but I didn't think of it that way. I wasn't disgusted at all. Great reviews though;)

oggi said...

Thanks Marvin. I'm surprised at my own reaction to this movie that I have been eagerly awaiting for months to come out on DVD. I have seen maybe 95% of Disney's cartoons and this is one of just a handful that I did not like. I just can't get past the image of a horde of rats marching towards the kitchen of the restaurant.:)

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