Yesterday, we escaped the hottest part of the day by seeing Glass – M Knight Shyamalan’s newest project. Continue reading “Glass – a review (and a rant)”
Tag: Movie Reviews
Fantastic Movies You Aren’t Watching, Part 1
I have an arsenal of movies that I hopelessly recommend to anyone who will listen – and what typically happens next is that these movies still go unwatched – unless I’ve wrapped the person up in a straight jacket and eye gaugies a la A Clockwork Orange (another flick that I’ll get awkwardly excited about if someone mentions it, or if I ever hear any combination of the words “clock” “work” and “orange” in the same sentence) and stuck them on the couch, forcing them to look out for the good parts.
It’s been well documented that my taste (in everything) runs the gamut from shit or cannon worthy. But movies and TV are a special spectrum. Most of the shit flicks I like I like just as as a guilty pleasure – some have indefinable qualities (or at least qualities that I’m not willing to mention in public) that keep me re-watching them against my will (looking at you, Twilight). But some of the movies on my No One Cares But Me List are damn good – the limited release or straight to video gems that got passed over at Blockbuster for big budget babes. So I’ve decided to unleash them here in all their glory. Because everyone in my audience listens to every word I say. Right? Right. Let’s go!
Clay (wee baby Joaquin Phoenix) is a small town auto mechanic who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time. After he witnesses his best friend’s suicide, he befriends killer Lester (surprisingly fantastic Vince Vaughn), a charasmatic truck driver who’s drifting through town, and suddenly finds himself a suspect in a string of murders. Janeane Garofalo is in it, since it’s a late 90’s independent comedy. Of course, but she’s playing a surly FBI investigator, but she’s basically perfect.
The trailer is shit – but trust me, the movie is gold. It’s a who-dunnit crime comedy, and even though the plot is pretty transparent and predictable, the writing is amazing with a surprising amount of depth to the characters, and the performances are so damn good – I contend that it’s the best Vince Vaughn has ever been.
My highschool boyfriend introduced me to this movie on one of those “let’s hang out and try to be friends even though it’s incredibly awkward because I broke your heart and you’ve been near suicidal for months” hang times (high school was hard, ok). I instantly hated him for showing me an amazing movie that I wanted to re-watch immediately, but couldn’t because it was connected to him (seriously, it’s hard to be 16). But the next morning I went out and bought a copy. It was worth the heart break.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Another late 90’s murder crime comedy – but this one’s set in Minnesota and everyone has the Minnesota Nice happening. It’s fantastic.
A documentary crew travels to Mt. Rose Minnesota to cover the town’s biggest event – the Sarah Rose Cosmetics Teen Princess beauty pageant. This year’s top contestants are the Evil Daughter of the Richest Family in Town, Becky (Denise “Only One Without an Accent” Richards) and the Sweet Girl from the Trailer Park with a Heart of Gold, Amber (Kirsten Dunst, preparing for her Fargo role). Becky’s over zealous mom/organiser of the pageant, Gladys (played to a T by Kirstie Alley), is determined to see her daughter win. And as contestants start dying in mysterious circumstances, Amber realises she’s the main target. Rut-roh.
Michael Patrick Jann (The State) directs a perfectly drawn cast that’s chuck full of great ladies from the 90’s – including an up and coming Amy Adams, a hysterical Allison Janey, and still-super-cute-era Brittany Murphy. It has all the qualities of a great dark comedy: great writing, perfect timing, and dead-on mockumentary deadpan. I love it.
I don’t remember the first time I saw this – I think my parents brought it home from Blockbuster one night and we all thought it would be bad, but that’s what you get for assuming. After I moved to Sydney, I had an itch to watch it – and that itch lasted for almost 2 years, because you can’t stream it anywhere. And then I found it on SBS On-Demand. And there was much rejoicing (from me, not so much Joel, who isn’t in to crime comedy, just crime movies).
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hedwig was a boy from East Berlin who got a botched sex change operation in order to marry an American soldier. The soldier abandons her in Kansas with no money and no job. Hedwig meets and falls in love with Tommy, and they become a song writing duo, but Tommy ends up stealing her songs and making it big, leaving her in the dust. Hedwig shadows his national tour, playing shitty venues on the same night, trying to reclaim her piece of fame, but mostly, searching for love – her other half.
I’ve blogged about this movie before, a few years ago. It’s perfect. It’s everything a rock musical should be – exciting, smart, fun, and emotional. I fell in love with it in the first few minutes, and it’s damn well a part of my soul now. Just watch it.
Fun fact: Heaps of famous people have donned the wig for Hedwig on and off broadway – including NPH himself.
There you have it folks. Fire up your Amazon Prime or other probably cheaper and more accessible streaming services and get to it.
And let me know how much you love them, ok? Because you will.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (only slightly spoiled)
I started getting excited for the new Star Wars sequel as soon as I heard it was green-lit. When I read an article that said Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt were writing, JJ Abrams was directing, and Adam Driver had been cast, I got even more excited, and I immediately implemented Media Black Out, wanting to be absolutely surprised by every element (I did this for Star Trek in 2008 and it was awesome). I made it absolutely spoiler free until the first week of December, when I was waiting for a bus to work, and said bus pulled up in front of me with a GIANT Force Awakens movie poster on it. It just ratcheted up my excitement about 800 levels.
We didn’t make plans for opening night, because we were both working the next day, but Joel planned a big night out for us last night. Nice burgers for dinner, and a 9:30 showing in the Gold Class theater. So yeah, I was pretty damn excited.
First, nothing makes a movie better than seeing it while sitting in a reclining lazy boy with the option to have food and drink served to you. The theater was small and polite, so much so that I had to corral my urge to clap and cheer whenever something awesome happened.
Second, I didn’t like the movie nearly as much as I thought I would. It was awesome to look at, and I was never bored, but I left the theater feeling a bit underwhelmed.
I should say that while I love Star Wars, I’m not a die-hard know it all. So maybe my critique is mis-guided. I love Star Wars because I love listening to the story, and all the background stories that are told throughout the episodes. It’s the narrative that gets me excited more than anything. Yes, George Lucas writes terrible dialogue, but he’s made a captivating universe and some badass characters. And while this movie was really awesome to look at, and there were plenty of funny parts and YES!! parts, the story as a whole felt lacking, like it was rushed. Characters were introduced but not much else happened. And there was so much story to play off of! The empire rose again after it was defeated without explanation. A whole new generation of Jedi was massacred by Han Solo’s son and only one line of dialogue was devoted to it. Rey’s past was shown as one shot in a rapid fire flashback. Who the fuck was the 50 foot tall holographic
Voldemort Supreme Being?
I think I just expected a different movie. Maybe I was thinking it would pick up closer to the end of Jedi, with Leia and Han and their children, and the unrest growing within the new republic. Something closer to what was described in the opening credits. Basically, the fall of the rebellion, massacre of new Jedi and the rise of this new dark side would have been a lot more exciting to watch, even if it does sound similar to the plot of Episode III. But it’s not like this movie didn’t recycle some story lines – another Death Star? What, 3rd time’s a charm? Another brother and sister who were separated and hidden so no one would hunt them down and one of them doesn’t realise they have Jedi powers? With all that’s happened in the extended universe, I’m surprised the writers took an easy route.
Who knows, maybe it’ll all be explained in episode 8.
And I’ll be there to watch it, in my giant lazy boy.