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“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)

"The Hurt Locker"

1. I had heard this movie was tense, but that turned out to be a complete understatement. Watching the film is like performing open-heart surgery on your best friend while being blindfolded. Not that I could perform open-heart surgery without a blindfold, but you get the idea.

2. The leading cast of unknowns (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) are just as brilliant as the supporting cast of uncredited “names” (Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce and Evangeline Lilly), proving that you don’t need a name to carry a film.

3. Shot in Jordan’s capital city Amman, the scenery doesn’t get more realistic. These aren’t converted studio back lots, or Arizona desertscape being faked to look like Iraq. This is real Middle Eastern desert here, folks, and it’s a noticeable detail that adds an astounding amount of realism to the film.

4. I’m usually not a fan of the shaky handheld camera work that has recently plagued Hollywood over the past few years; unless, of course, it’s absolutely necessary to the storytelling. Here, it works. The movie made my hands shake, and I was just sitting in the theater.

5. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have created one of my top five films of 2009 (so far), and tonight at the screening they announced that they’re working on another film together. I can’t wait.

About as real to war as I care to get,

-Shady

“Inheritance” (Allentown Productions)

I have a soft spot for anything Docurama releases. Through the years they’ve been responsible for some of my favorite documentaries, including “The Staircase,” which should be seen by everyone.

Their track record is still unscathed after watching their latest release, “Inheritance.”

“Inheritance” tells the story of two women who have one man in common, and the struggles they go through to meet for the first time.

The man they have in common is Amon Goeth, the SS Commandant of the Plaszow Concentration Camp in Krakow, Poland, and one of the most inhumane and notorious Nazi leaders of World War II.

Helen Jonas was a camp prisoner who was forced to work in Goeth’s house as a slave. Monika Hertwig was Goeth’s only child, born just before her father was hung for war crimes.

Hertwig never knew her father, yet she carries around an intense amount of guilt for his actions during the war. She knew so little about him, in fact, that her first impression of him was Ralph Fiennes’ interpretation of him in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” in 1993.

Shortly after the release of “Schindler’s List,” Hertwig saw an interview with Helen Jonas on television, where she talked about the horrors she witnessed and experienced firsthand while living in the Goeth household. After seeing the interview, Hertwig decided to seek out the woman who had been tortured by her father for so long.

“Inheritance” documents Hertwig’s journey from Germany and Jonas’ journey from New Jersey, as they meet for the first time at the site in Poland where the Plaszow Camp once stood.

One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is how each woman deals with their past. Helen, who suffered far worse than Monika will ever know, is headstrong and tough, acting almost as a pillar for the confused and fragile Hertwig to lean on. In the end it’s obvious that both women are victims of the same man, albeit in different ways.

The disc could have used a few more extras (there is only an interview with the director and cinematographer, as well as a small featurette on the score) because the film itself is just over an hour long, but the story it tells manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

It almost gives me hope for humanity. Almost.

-Shady

It’s called “The Reader” and stars the old lady who drops her necklace into the ocean at the end of “Titanic,” and Oskar Schindler.

It was awful. AWFUL! And you know I’m serious when I break out the caps and the exclamation points.

Now, I admit that I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to movies. I don’t see movies regularly (especially if I have to pay to see them), have a fairly small DVD collection (at least compared to most of my friends), and haven’t seen a lot of the movie “standards” that most people would expect someone my age to have seen (i.e. “Rocky,” “Rambo,” “Top Gun,” any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, or even–dare I say it?–“The Empire Strikes Back”).

I just don’t really… I don’t know… care? I’m sure there are a ton of movies out there that I should see, but when it comes to actually seeing them, I just don’t.

Anyway, back to the turd burger I was just subjected to.

I’m gonna give some spoilers here, so if you really want to see “The Reader” stop reading now. Then again, calling what I’m about to write a “spoiler” is like saying a long bout with diarrhea is both wet and messy, but whatever.

Okay, I’m going to break down the entire movie for you step by step. Here we go:

1. A 15-year-old German Boy meets a Much-Older German Woman while throwing up on the street in the middle of a rainstorm. Boy becomes smitten with Woman because she’s all motherly and takes care of his barfing ass. Completely Oedipal.

2. Boy takes flowers to Woman to thank her for taking care of him. Somehow during his visit he gets covered in coal ash. Woman tells Boy to take a quick bath, then greets him as he’s getting out with her vagina.

3. They fuck.

4. They continue to fuck.

5. They do a lot more fucking. I swear, I’ve seen underground Austrian orgies with more of a costuming budget. And we’re talking everything here, folks: his penis, her bush, his taint, her freakishly-red nipples and butt cracks, butt cracks, butt cracks. Everything. If the penis of that actor ever robs a bank, I’ll be able to give a sketch artist a pretty good description of the culprit at large. And yes, I mean AT LARGE.

6. Woman loves it when Boy reads to her, hence the title. He reads her Homer, then they fuck. He reads her Dr. Seuss, then they fuck. He reads her the back of a box of raisins, they fuck. If my local library had this kind of reading program back when I was a teenager, I would have read a lot more books.

7. They go on a bike ride and stop for lunch. She can’t read a menu. We realize she’s illiterate.

8. Boy begins to realize maybe bagging this old broad ain’t as cool as it used to be, especially since a much younger chick from school is giving him the flirt eye.

9. Old German Woman gets mad, gives Boy a really creepy sponge bath that goes on way too long, fucks him one last time, then leaves.

10. Boy goes to law school. While there, his class studies an ongoing court case about a group of Nazi women who are on trial for crimes against the Jews during World War II.

11. You see where this is going?

12. Boy realizes that one of the women on trial is Much-Older German Woman. Much-Older German Woman officially becomes “Illiterate Nazi Lady” (INL).

13. INL is accused of writing an official SS report, thus proving that she was in charge of said group of Nazi bitches. This isn’t true, of course, because SHE CAN’T READ OR WRITE. But rather than embarrass herself in front of the court for being illiterate, she’d much rather just admit that she was a NAZI LEADER.

14. INL is convicted and sent to jail.

15. Boy becomes Man (i.e. Ralph Malph) when he finally starts fucking chicks his own age. But a part of him still misses tapping that Swasti-gina.

16. While in prison, Man starts sending INL audio tapes of him reading books. INL teaches herself how to read and write with the help of his tapes, and eventually starts writing him back. Man, meanwhile, has invented “Books on Tape” without even knowing it.

17. Nazi serves her time and is now a scraggly old sea beast. Man finally comes to see her one week before her release, but he is all like, “This love is GONE, baby! You’s old, you’s dry, you’s ashy, and you’s a NAZI!”

18. Nazi is feels rejected and kills herself in her cell by standing on a stack of books and then hanging herself. See the symbolism there? And by “symbolism” I mean “dumbism.”

19. Schindler is sad. The Nazi left him money, so he donates it to a Jewish literacy group.

20. Ralph tells his daughter the story while standing over the grave of the Nazi. Possibly facing his own mortality, he realizes his days of getting ANY kind of pussy (young, old, Nazi or otherwise) are over, and starts to look forward to embracing death.

ROLL CREDITS!

Does my description sound a bit convoluted to you? Maybe a bit long and boring and long and boring and LONG AND BORING? Yeah. It is.

I had to keep myself from laughing out loud during this movie. Afterward, the screenwriter gave a little Q&A about whatever, and I just started zoning out completely. Do you know how many ceiling tiles there are in Theater 3 at the Arclight? I do.

So, yeah… that happened.

Tomorrow night we see “Wall-E” again, with a Q&A afterward with director Andrew Stanton. That will help cleanse my movie palette.

Hopefully.

I can now draw Kate Winslet’s nipples from memory,

-Shady

Old Poop!