I went to military school for four years, and it sucked the whole time. There were kids there who embraced it, and turned from ritalin-snorting criminals into pillars of military discipline, but I never fit that narrative– I was a nerd who snuck books into mandatory football games, and I hated pretty much everything about that place. Often, I would get in trouble, and be forced to stand at attention and get lectured about a whole bunch of things I didn’t give a crap about.
Continue reading “Lost Weekend III: Zero Motivation”
Upstream Color will make you feel like you are having a dream. Its scenes are sound-tracked with haunting ambient music instead of dialogue, it contains no exposition, and its most dramatic, climactic moment is a scene in which one person looks up from a table to make eye contact with another person. It is a movie that will make you feel like you are floating, and it does all this despite being a science fiction movie about a mad scientist, a mysterious creature, telepathy, and experiments on pigs. It’s an amazing achievement of storytelling and acting, if you can find a quiet place to watch it in the dark for about an hour and half, I guarantee you will be left with your mind racing.
Continue reading “Lost Weekend I: Upstream Color”
The Warriors should be fucking ridiculous. Really look at any still from this movie, and you will see a bunch of skinny, half-naked backup dancers with giant hair trying to look hard as fuck in silly vests. It’s two steps away from being Tim Burton’s version of West Side Story, or Saturday Night Fever plus baseball bats. But for some reason, if those skinny backup dancers are standing in the blackest, dankest, dirtiest New York night with a pulsing, hypnotic seventies score behind them, they ARE hard as fuck, and you believe everything they say. The Warriors would murderize the Sharks and the Jets, and Maria would be so hot for Swan she’d forget all about Tony. The Warriors IS it’s atmosphere– the filthy dark city and that soundtrack are the extra members of the gang, and they are even meaner than Ajax. This is a movie with some pretty unsympathetic characters, a villain with no motivation, weak fight choreography, and plenty of plot holes, but you won’t give a shit while you’re watching it, because you’re gonna be too busy boppin’. The Warriors is as transporting a movie as exists, and everyone should see it.
Continue reading “No Sweat, War Chief: A Review of THE WARRIORS”
Michael Thelin’s 2015 babysitting psychological torture flick Emelie is a specially designed weapon aimed at every fear a parent ever had about leaving their kids with a stranger, but it’s more than that. For me, this movie dredged up a whole bunch of weird memories about what it’s like to to be an older sibling or an awkward pre-teen boy babysat by a gorgeous teenage girl, simultaneously infatuated and terrified. Emelie knows all about that stuff, and manipulates those feelings to unsettle and frighten you just like its baby-faced star screws with her charges. This is a movie that is at least as disturbing as it is frightening, a movie about making you squirm in your seat rather than making you jump in it.
Continue reading “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead: A Review of EMELIE”
1981’s My Bloody Valentine has nearly everything you could want in a 1980s horror film : goofy deaths, silly clothes, gratuitous boobs, and a human heart simmering quietly in a pot of hot dog water. It even manages to overcome its inherent silliness for a second and be a little bit scary, thanks to being filmed in a real mine–someone chasing you down a winding pitch black tunnel is terrifying whether they have a pick-axe or not. It is a fun movie, and I think it becomes even more impressive when you learn 9 minutes of gore were cut out of it by the MPAA when it was released- while there’s lots of things missing from this movie (motivation, coherency and logic), I wouldn’t have said it was light on the red stuff.
Continue reading “BE MINE! A Review of the 1981 Slasher: My Bloody Valentine!”
If you don’t like concert films and don’t know much about Elvis, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is may be the perfect concert film for you. I say that because I fulfill both conditions, and still enjoyed this 1970 video of Elvis’s come back concert at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. The film is earnest and serious about showing you what an Elvis concert is like, and though I might have enjoyed a real documentary about Elvis’s history and personal tragedies more, it’s hard to say that a piece of journalism like that is more real than this actual footage from his life, even if it is curated. This movie does four good things, one of them probably by accident:
Continue reading “Thank You – Thank You Very Much: An ELVIS review”
Mads Brugger’s 2011 documentary The Ambassador is fascinating,funny and disturbing. You should see it—but it’s also terrible and I don’t trust it. And when you’re done being entertained, you shouldn’t trust it either. This movie lets an entertaining tail wag the whole dog, and a chilling,deeply fascinating story of corrupt bureaucracy is forced to share screen time with the filmmaker’s low-rent Borat impersonation, ruining everything. There’s a reason there hasn’t been a 60 minutes/Jackass crossover, and the mixed bag of The Ambassador is it.
Continue reading “You Should See It, But Can You Trust It? A Review of Drafthouse Films’ THE AMBASSADOR”
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (1999) is the most under-appreciated comedy movie of the 1990s. It is a note perfect mockumentary of a ridiculous small town beauty pageant, featuring great performances from actresses we don’t usually think of that way (Denise Richards and Kirstie Alley,) and from actresses that went on to excel (Allison Janney, Amy Adams). Even though it’s a movie about a small town mom murdering beauty pageant contestants filled with infantile jokes about masturbation,eating disorders, and getting hit in the crotch, even though it ends with a montage of beauty queens vomiting, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is filled with subtle (sorta) details that make every joke in it better, like the dog sweaters worn by German Shepard obsessed contestant Jenelle Betz and the gross sweaty expressions on the face of contest judge John Dough when he watches “the young girls.”
Continue reading “Small Town Satire: A DROP DEAD GORGEOUS review”
I first saw Hocus Pocus as a fourteen-year-old boy when it came out in 1993, and I was unimpressed by every aspect of it except for Sarah Jessica Parker’s witch cleavage. But I know the movie has since then somehow attained cult classic status, and was even shown at the Alamo on Halloween. So what did I miss back then, when teenage me was busy stating at SJP’s “yobbos,” as this Disney movie refers to them? Is Hocus Pocus really equivalent to the stop motion Rudolph movie? I wanted to find out, so this time I went in open minded, looking for the hidden gems that have elevated this movie to stand alongside the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Nightmare Before Christmas.
I still have no idea where those gems are. Maybe providing padding to the yobbos?
Continue reading “Providing Padding to the Yobbos: A Review of 1993’s HOCUS POCUS”
If you know going in that A Married Couple (1969) is a part of the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse Series and is a documentary that follows the relationship struggles of a real married couple in sixties Toronto, you expect an almost-too-raw, emotional portrayal of real people. What you get instead is a jackass in red bikini briefs hamming it up for the camera, nude family vacations, and a sudden disregard for sixties nostalgia. The movie, directed by Allen King, follows 40-something ad copy writer Billy Edwards and his brassy, decade younger wife Antoinette, and their struggling marriage.
Continue reading “A Review of Allan King’s A MARRIED COUPLE; or, a Documentary About an Unrelateable, Crumbling Marriage”