In which I attempt to watch every film in The Criterion Collection and end up watching a lot that aren't. Click here for the rating system.


National Treasure

"One man's treasure is another girl's trash."

Wow, so Nicolas Cage all grown up and picking dumb movies to act in. What happened to those daring, hairy carefree days of Raising Arizona and Moonstruck? Why did Nick shave his back and reshape his nose? I for one liked his gruff little bumbler look. I thought that was kinda hot, truth be told, but now. Now...

It's just no good.

He plays an unconvincing treasure hunter in modern day USA. He's followed around by an equally unconvincing nerdtron side-kick played by Justin Bartha. (At one point his character, Riley, says, "You're big and green and have a funny goatee" and hugs a priceless, ancient statue. And for me that pretty much sums up this movie.)

There's also a crappy, half-assed love story thrown under the wheels of this Disney monstrosity. Some hot blonde (Abigail Chase) with "an accent" gets carried away in the heist (literally) and (sort of) falls for Nic Cage. Although I could have just as easily believed her falling for Justin Bartha or Jon Voight. Hell, nothing wrong with Sean Bean, come to think of it. Except maybe his judgement in choosing this movie.

All around sucky movie.

Favorite moment: going to the bathroom during a chase scene and not missing much.


Murderous Maids

"Death by hired help."

Forgive me if I spend a few moments telling you about a French film that deserves to be mentioned if only because it prompted me to get back into the film fury after a hiatus of unusual social busyness.

Two sisters (who are also lovers) brutally murder their mistresses in their home. The husband and police break in to find the two dead women strewn across two floors and the sisters huddled upstairs in their attic room. How French can you get?

Only it's a true story. The infamous Papin sisters destroyed the very women who they worked for in a gruesome attack that has few parallels in history. So, you're thinking, 'That's gross. I don't want to watch that.' And quite frankly I won't blame you for thinking that. I suspect that is the very reason this film is not well known in the US. It's too gruesome. But it is still an outstanding piece of film work. The sisters, played by Sylvie Testud (phenomenal) and Julie-Marie Parmentier could not be more in touch with their trapped and alienated characters. A brilliant film, really.

Not for the faint of heart.

Favorite moments: Testud, Testud, Testud.

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