Movie Reviews: 13 Tzameti and Sleeper

Two reviews for you today, both good ones. Saturday I had the chance to watch a French film I’d heard really good things about: 13 Tzameti. (For those of you playing at home, “Tzameti” is the Georgian word for thirteen, so yes–the movie is called 13 13. Got a problem with that?) The basic premise is simple: a young handyman finds directions addressed to someone else, telling that person to go to a certain hotel room at a certain time, and he’ll be able to make a lot of money. Lots of money. And because the guy’s just an out of luck handyman, he decides to follow the directions, having no clue what they will entail. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but let’s just say that nothing in life comes cheap. The movie was full of tension and extremely well done. (It’s being remade by an American company now, which could be good or bad. The good? They’re keeping the same director. The bad? It’s starring 50 Cent.) The film’s rated a totally justified R, but it’s more for subject matter than anything else. Not really bloody or sexy or vulgar–just for something I don’t think anyone below the age of 18 really ought to be watching, for obvious reasons (once you’ve seen it). Three and a half stars.

(And on a side note, one thing this film really impressed me with was its ability to show that a great movie doesn’t need to be really complicated. It can all be based on a fantastic idea that’s simple to understand, yet compelling by its very nature. Anyone else out there seen this one? I’d love to talk more about it, but I refuse to give out spoilers.)

The second one is Woody Allen’s Sleeper. Yes, I know. I fail as a film watcher. It’s taken me this long to watch this film. It’s about a man who’s cryogenically frozen in 1973, then thawed in 2173. Hilarity ensues. Really, it’s got a lot of the Woody Allen strengths I love: great acting, extremely funny scenes, great dialogue, interesting ideas. It’s also got some of what I see as his weaknesses: pieces in the middle that really drag, and an insatiable desire to continually focus on sex. That said, it’s rated PG, and DKC enjoyed it, too. So there. Three stars, and always great to see what people think the future might hold. (My personal favorite quote of the movie involved two future scientists talking about Woody’s diet in 1973:

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Dr. Melik: Incredible. )

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