Saturday, April 21, 2018

Blockers is the greatest movie of all time

Blockers. Fucking hilarious. I can't remember the last time I watched a teenage comedy. Superbad, Juno, so like 2008ish, some time around then. They seemed big when I was in high school, shit like 10 Things I Hate About You, American Pie, Bring It On, Can't Hardly Wait, so forth, and started fizzling out when I was in college/grad school, these later movies were flicks like the ones Adverntureland, Easy A, Mean Girls, so on and so forth. Maybe as us millennials started aging, we grew out of that shit. It didn't help that the quality of these movies went to shit or had a bunch things that are problematic (teachers doing students, filming naked chicks without their knowledge, rampant homophobia, to name some of the problems). I think the genre sort of went as far as it could go when parody movies like Not Another Teen Movie and Detention (which came out a decade apart) were better and more enjoyable than the movies they were spoofing.

Now this comes along. A totally refreshing look at the genre told through the perspective of the parents unwilling to let their kids grow up and take their places in that time of sex and boozing which causes many a shitty/hilarious situation for everyone involved. It is also a pretty empowering movie for young, female sexuality which is pretty cool but sort dangerous in this climate. But because of the way the whole thing is done and portrayed, with kids being respectful of each others desires and so forth, it totally pulls it off in a way that is not as offensive as it could be. Anyyyywhhhooo. Greatest movie of all time. Instant classic.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.

Pros: Surprisingly funny (the trailer looked sort of dumb). Pretty touching, I guess, if you are into raising kids. Sexually empowering for young people. It's a good twist on the typical trying to get laid teen sex comedies.

Cons: There was some pretty gross scenes. Also a lot of cringing. The kid who looks like a young Russell Brand is sort of irritating (but he doesn't pressure his prom date into sex so he gets a pass).

Basic gist of the movie is a trio of parents--played by Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Suicide Squad, the male nurse in The Mindy Project), John Cena (Sisters, Trainwreck, wrastling), and Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, she was "fucking french )--find out that their daughters--Gideon Adlon, Kathryn Newton, and Geraldine Viswanathan (none of which I recognized)--have committed to a sex pact wherein they will lose their virginities post prom and completely lose their minds, going to extraordinary means to keep their daughters V-cards intact.

Each of these parents have their own reason for stepping in here. Mann's character identifies as Julie's mom, Julie is played by the actress Kathryn Newton who was the murdered girl in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and is freaking out about her going to college her daughter's deflowering, for her, represents her daughter leaving the nest. Cena, on the other hand, is way overbearing so his little overachiever, one Kayla played by Geraldine Viswanathan, getting it on means his loss of control. And Barinholtz (who has been more or less deadbeat dad for most of his daughter's life) is at least observant enough to know that his daughter, Sam played by Gideon Adlon, is gay and wants to stop her from having her first sexual experience be with a guy that she isn't attracted to, his thinking is that this will make her forgive him for being a dick and what not. They all freak out and go insane. Go team!

In this movie we get exploding cars, Cena butt-chugging, adults beating up children, high school dudes calling their parents to tell them they got laid--high five! (a hilarious double standard), and Gina Gershon getting it on with Bill Lumbergh. Though there are a few parts that drag on that are meh, like the blindfolded sex game scene, the film works. It is part chaos, part heart. Each of the teens are sweet and cool and their banter and the parents freak outs make for a pretty dope comedy.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Isle of Dogs is the greatest movie of all time

An island of dogs you say? I'm in. Also Wes Anderson. Fuck yeah. His typical ensemble cast and Brian Cranston. Stop-motion-animation. Japan. How can this not be amazing? But was it amazing... It was. It was the greatest movie of all time.

Some podcasts I listen to were giving this movie shit. Saying stuff like it doesn't make any statement whatsoever, there is no feeling to it, lots of cultural appropriation, and the story is garbage. To all of these people I say chill out. I don't really need a movie to make a goddamn statement in the Trump era. I go to the movies to to think about stuff that is not that. These are good dogs. Good dogs are the greatest, noblest creatures on earth. I love movies about them that don't involve humans losing them. This is a beautiful movie with a strong dog bias. So lay off, cat people. You've got Life of Pi and the internet. 

Pros: That Wes Anderson style and color usage are on point. Cute, sweet dogs everywhere on an island. Does a good job of telling what each character is about without overly explaining shit, which I loathe. It's the only dog movie I can remember that didn't make me tear up. 

Cons: Ludicrous story which occasionally gets lazy but it is fun. 

After a trio of canine diseases threatening to jump species infect most of the dogs in dystopian Megasaki City in Japan, Mayor Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura) proposes the extreme action of quarantining all of the pups on the island where the city sends its trash. In a symbolic gesture, Kobayashi deports the family dog, Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber), to the island first. This leads to his ward, his young, orphaned nephew Atari (voiced by Koyu Rankin), steals a plane and heads to the island in search of his pet/bodyguard. He is assisted in his quest by a ragtag group of pups with their own unique and interesting story. From there, a group of pro-dog advocates are inspired to question the government which ultimately leads to the uncovering of a vast pro-cat governmental conspiracy. It is sort of insane. 

The ensamble cast is super impressive, as Anderson's movies universally are. Voice actors for the main pack of dogs include Bob Balaban who was Russell Dalrymple (the head of NBC) in Seinfeld as King, Cranston as pack leader Chief, Jeff Goldblum as Duke, Bill Murray as Boss, and Edward Norton as beta Rex. Other dogs are voiced by F. Murray Abraham as Jupiter (the one with the brandy barrel), Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg (the sexualized one), Harvey Keitel as leader of the cannibals Gondo, and Tilda Swinton as Oracle who speaks TV. Some notable humans include Greta Gerwig as the blond girl with the fro, two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand as Interpreter Nelson, and Yoko Ono as Assistant-Scientist Yoko-ono. 

He should sue
There are some that are weird going on here like in any Wes Anderson movie. Like Mayor Kobayashi straight up murders a dude by tainting his sushi with poisoned wasabi. This was suspected by fringe conspiracy theorizing pro-dog folks, they happen to be correct though, whom it is implied proved that Kobayashi offed the dude. After Kobayashi sort of has his redemptive moment, everyone is fucking cool with him again. He goes to jail because he is a fucking murder (not to mention extreme dog hater), but everyone is like "aw, Kobayashi-san!" Fuck that guy. Another guy that can go fuck himself is that Major-Domo dude who at the end when everyone is back on the dog bandwagon still tries to gas them all. Dude looks straight up like the giant from Twin Peaks, by the by. Just look at those mugs. The only thing in the movie that really annoyed me was the Japanese hacker kid from Tracy's newspaper extracurricular (Tracy is the chick with the fro) who saves the day at least twice in storytelling that is lazy AF. Also, I sort of just realized that Tracy is in high school and she has a crush on/ends up with Atari who is 12. Gross, main. 

Though a lot of those things are ridiculous, this movie still fucking rocks. I totes want to live on dog island and would if my girls got sent there. As a hardcore atheist, this is sort of my secret religion. Getting licks from all the dogs I've loved throughout time for all of eternity. Getting choked up thinking about it. And I'm crying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feast is the greatest movie of all time

Feast is some great comedy horror. The monster flick was featured on season three of Project Greenlight—I never watched so some of the details might be a bit fuzzy here—which was a documentary series on HBO and later Bravo where Ben Afflect and Matt Damon (with the help of, ahem, Harvey Weinstein) would pluck first-time directors out of obscurity and fund their idea for a feature film. So the movie had that going for it and apparently the making of the low-budget film made for low-budget film. I may have to check it out as this is the greatest movie of all time. 

Pros: Original, made me laugh out loud at least once, was super disgusting, and features a solid list of Hollywood D-Listers. The monsters look surprisingly dope in a 1990s cheesy sort of way. 

Cons: Little too much shaky cam. Drags on (towards the end especially).

Feast was made by one John Gulager (son of Clu who is one of my faves and plays the bartender in this movie) and is about a ragtag group of barflies in a country tavern who are forced to fight for their lives against a family of alien, demon things hell bent on eating them. The movie spawned two sequels, Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds and Feast III: The Happy Finish that came out in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Wade... Ger
Lot to like about this flick. Doesn't fuck around early when it gives us everything you need to know about each of the characters in these three-second backstory cards with each of their nicknames, job/fun fact, and life expectancy. For example, the old pickled drunk lady who goes by “Grandma” has the following pop up on the screen when she shows up for the first time: “Fun Fact: Blew Mick Jagger ... recently. Life Expectancy: Maybe dead already.” Lot of info in no time. Love that shit.

As for the D-Listers, we get Krista Allen who was the enfamous Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives, rapper Anthony 'Treach' Criss from Naughty by Nature, Judah Friedlander who was Frank Rossitano / Streak in 30 Rock, Balthazar Getty who was the lead in Lost Highway and David Foster Wallace called out as a huge piece of shit in one of my favorite essays on David Lynch, Gulager's father Clu Gulager as Bartender who is a great character guy with some real horror chops having played amazing roles in two of the most ridiculous movies of all time having played the dad in A Nightmare on ElmStreet 2: Freddy’s Revenge and the iconic Burt in The Return of the Living Dead, Jason Mewes who is Jay in all the Jay and Silent Bob movies (he plays himself), one of my all-time favorite people Henry Rollins and I go crazy for whenever I see him in anything as Coach, Jenny Wade who plays Honey Pie and is the hot one (you might recognize her from American Horror Story, The Good Guys, Grimm, or Mad Men), and Duane Whitaker who was the fat rapist in Pulp Fiction as the Boss Man.

Like so
The first thing we get after the little intros, spoiler, is “Hero”, played by one Eric Dane, popping in saying stuff like “listen and do everything I say if you want to live,” and then immediately getting decapitated by a monster. It was a great little twist. For the next few minutes it is just pure chaos which is exactly how it would happen IRL when some shit hits the fan like that. During that time we get a bunch of carnage with several characters dying off early including Treach and Jason Mewes who gets his face ripped off. Also during that time Boss Man gets his foot blown off as he bones Tuffy upstairs when Hero’s head is getting bitten off. Tuffy, who has a young child, has her kid hide in the closet. We are then introduced to Heroine who yells that everyone needs to stay downstairs. Tuffy freaks out and runs to where her kid was. He ain’t there. But then they find him. Aw. Tuffy is all, “I want let anything happen to you, ever, I promise,” at the exact moment she finishes, one of the monsters busts in and eats the kid in like two gulps. It is in-fucking-sane and darkly hilarious.

Lots of other funny shit in there like using Rollins’s head as a battering ram, you sort of have to be there, monster-on-moster sex, and later cutting off its dick and balls via door slam, its pretty gross, and a great line at a slower part of the movie with “It has been a long time since someone has been horribly killed; seems like an opportune time for someone to get offed,” when they are trying to get people to do some shit that is dangerous. Check this shit out. It’s comedy/horror gold.

DFW on Getty in the essay "David Lynch Keeps His Head." What a guy. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Quiet Place is the Greatest Movie of All Time

A Quiet Place. Damn. Another great horror movie from an actor, John Krasinski who was most famously Jim on The Office, more known for his comedic work. And it is the best horror flick I've seen since the one fitting that criteria last year (Get Out by Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame). Krasinski knocks it out of the part as both writer and director. From the very start you are on edge and that shit doesn't go away. I had trouble sleeping after watching it last night. It is rare that you get a movie that affects such a real life response.

I really loved this movie. I was shocked when I came out after the movie and heard a group of baby bros (one with an American flag tat... cool) talking about how the movie was "trash". Some people just hate on everything I guess. It is a great movie but it watching it is not a pleasant experience. I get that. But "trash". Fuck that. Greatest movie of all time.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.

Pros: Premise is completely unique. Acting was perfect from everyone. Super intense and in engrossing (rivals Breaking Bad here). The monsters are terrifying and look pretty good. The movie is super taut. They don't fuck around with your time. Every second of this movie is necessary and exceptional.

Cons: Not for the faint of heart. Watching this movie was a very uncomfortable movie going experience (but that also made it awesome).

Gist of the flick is that a small family featuring Krasinski as the dad, the mom played by Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train, The Edge of Tomorrow), and their kids played by Millicent Simmonds (a young deaf actress who was Rose in a movie called Wonderstruck for which she received a lot of acclaim and was amazing in this movie) and Noah Jupe live in complete silence in the country as they hide from these blind killing machines that hunt based on sound. Not a good situation but the family has a minor advantage as the daughter is deaf and they are able to sign with each other instead of having to be vocal.

One of my favorite things about the movie is how they just throw you in. Hell, we don't know if the creatures are aliens or what. I fucking hate when movies give you too much unnecessary back story. I feel most movies would show you how all this started and go into the early days of survival before finally getting into the movie. Krasinski doesn't fuck with any of that. We are thrust in this world several months in with the family already making it work. Yet we still get the gist of all of it because Krasinski is a fucking genius. Instead of having characters explain it or something like that, we see newspaper headlines, a whiteboard with facts about them, and the monsters themselves with anatomy that illustrates what they are all about.

I saw a bunch shit about plot holes. Most of these were bullshit. I don't think I would really thrive in that situation but I was sort of like "come on, main" when they went into the soundproof room. Why not stay in there all the time, ya know? Or maybe live under a waterfall. Of course the soundproof room isn't perfect either as nothing is in these situations. But I didn't really consider that anything to dwell on.

A lot of this
I heard another spicy take with a coworker saying that the movie was pro life. I guess that is sort of correct. When the movie skips ahead and the main lady showed up pregnant, this is in the trailer so not calling it a spoiler, my female companion and I were both like, "fucking breeders, man." That is a bad situation. You sort of need to procreate to perpetuate the species. But if that baby makes too much noise, then everyone is fucked. I'm gonna go with um, maybe don't get pregnant in the middle of a demon alien invasion. Everything surrounding this plot point was fucking nerve wracking. Being in labor and having to be silent and then everything that comes after that. Fuck. It was almost too much to handle.

Not trying to give too much away about the end but similar to Get Out it is super fucking satisfying and way more bad ass. It's sort of a release after all that tension where you and the characters are suddenly like "aw shit, you done fucked up" and then it is fucking on. It was tense, sure, but that made it totally worth it. Not only that but wait until you leave the theater. Right before the climax at the end, with 10 or so minutes left in the movie, I had to take a piss. When I came out and people were yammering on willy-nilly, I freaked out. Be warned, stress munching in this movie is highly frowned upon but you are totally gonna need something to stress munch. Too fucking quiet. I might go back though and rip a loud fart at a tense moment (I have since found this on the interwebs which is Krasinski talking about just that). That shit would be legendary. Anyway, yeah, this movie was the fucking bomb.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is the greatest movie of all time

Here we are, months after I started watching the Friday the 13th movies, still making our way through another franchise with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, more or less universally considered the worst of the bunch, this movie is garbage... but also the greatest movie of all time. On one hand, these things have been getting exponentially worse with each sequel. On the other, they have getting exponentially more watchable. This movie gets off course early and is a total free fall into what the fuck by the end. Holy shit this movie is weird even by this franchise's standards.

Gist of the movie is that a bunch of high school students go on some weird boat trip to New York, Jason tags along, kills most everyone on said boat, reaches Manhattan, and then kills most of the rest of them there (as well as some of your average 1980s New York thugs) before getting drowned in toxic waste and reverting back to child-form. Again, what the fuck? How? Believe the hype surrounding this movie, greatest fucking movie ever. Especially that boxing scene. That was fucking amaze balls.

Pros: The boxing scene is hilarious. Jason looks cool. The change of locale is sort of interesting and we get a really cool shot of Jason in Times Square. They don't kill off the dog.

Cons: The plot is all over the place and makes no sense. There aren't really any good kills. They change the rules of the game (Jason can suddenly teleport). The ending is really bad and really insane.

Notes: Here's some shit about this piece of greatness... Obviously, again, intended to be the last in the series (shockingly, it wasn't), some say this shit show was fucking doomed. When Paramount first started marketing the movie, the original poster was Jason tearing through an "I  NY" poster with a bloody knife. Yeah, the New York State Department of Economic Development (or whatever it was called then), which owns the trademark to the logo, was pissed the fuck off. Paramount toned it down by making the knife not bloody, not really the point, and the committee filed a formal complaint resulting in the studio retracting the image. What's worse, in following previously established precedent, Lar Park-Lincoln, the Carrie type survivor girl from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, apparently asked for a modest increase in pay from nearly nothing to dirt. The studio, as they had with every single survivor from the previous seven films, said "fuck no!" and they let her go. And that was that. Paramount really didn't give a shit about these goddamned movies.

Looking at the film itself, some bizarre decisions were made. Opening the movie we get a couple hooking up on a boat with one exposed breast. They suddenly stop so the gentleman here can tell the Jason story. During this tale they coincidentally bring Jason back to life unearth blue lightning when their boat anchor hits a 3000 volt power line that runs from the mainland to the camp at the bottom of the lake. They dead. Also early on we get this really strange side story with the hunky love interest guy. He is maybe out of high school and working as an assistant captain or is in high school and working as an assistant captain while his classmates party and get murdered below deck. What a fucking loser. Am I right? His old man relinquishes command to him, strangely, and he immediately fucks up because he is not qualified to do this job. Nice. Nepotism and incompetence. Immediately following this scene, after the kid storms out, the standard old crazy guy comes up and tells him that the voyage is doomed. I suspect with amateur hour here that even if Jason weren't on the boat that this would still be the case.

Now we start getting a bunch of kills on the boat. Most of them are lame city they make it clear that Jason can definitively teleport in this one. This is most apparent when he is the disco room with the Asian girl as Jason totally teleports around the dance floor before killing her. In sum we get kills with the following implements: a guitar, a sauna stone, a harpoon, Jason's mitts, and a navigation system (Jason throws a dude into it who catches fire before he hits the fucking thing), among other things. Eventually chaos ensues and the ship starts to go down. But not before Jason teleports up the mast one last time to throw some loser off down onto the decks below. He also T\tosses the black dude in the ocean before the boat actually sinks.

Only ones to make it off are the old dude, stupid heart throb, the survivor girl, her mom or whatever (who disappears at some point), the black dude (who they pick up in the ocean), and the dog. As they approach the city, the black dude explodes with a burst of horrible acting. It's fucking insane.

Some further ridiculous stuff with Jason becomes apparent here. First, Jason crawls out of the ocean behind the lifeboat. Apparently Jason swims to NYC. Funny that a kid that drowned is now able to marathon it from the middle of the sea. Second, on the docks of Manhattan he sees a billboard with his hockey mask on it and is weirded out. We also see a young Jason a couple of times. He looks completely different than he did before but whatever. This is foreshadowing to the end or something.

Back to the survivors. They have now discovered that New York is a 1980s hellhole, per usual. Before they even realize Jason is on the island with them they get robbed and the survivor girl gets kidnapped. These kidnapper guys don't give a fuck. This is how my parents think of New York right now, by the by. These dudes shoot her up to rape her. It's insane. Jason actually intervenes and saves the day here. Out of nowhere he pops up and stabs one of the guys in the chest with a hypodermic needle filled with drugs. The other guy, however, is not impressed with Jason who tries to fight him. Jason smashes his head through a steam pipe. He dead. Also, heroine has no affect on the girl who is up and on the move while Jason gets his killing on.

Around here we get what is easily the best scene in the movie: Jason boxes the black guy on the top of an apartment building. It was fucking insane (see the first gif). The guy connects like 400 straight punches before tiring himself out just when he has Jason with his back to the wall where he could potentially punch him off the side of the building. The rope-a-dope works pays off. Jason was down on points but wins on a knock out. Jason literally punches the dude's head off. It looks terrible and is amazing.

A cop shows up to arrest Jason and immediately dies. The remaining boaters hop in the cop car and hit Jason who appears as a child as they make their getaway causing the car to crash and eventually  explode. This conjures up a repressed memory from the survivor girl's childhood where the teacher chaperone dick bag guy scares the piss out of her about Jason being in the lake and throws her in off a row boat. Child Jason is at the bottom of the lake and pulls her down. She is like "you almost made me drown." He is like "uh... oh, when I taught you to swim?" The love interest dude is like "you son of a bitch" and the dude is kicked out of the group just in time for Jason to wake up. The old dude runs away into a building. Jason teleports in and throws them out a window. He then drowns him in toxic waste which is just chilling there like barrels of toxic waste do outside of industrial buildings.

Now we are at the beginning of the end which is quite the journey. Don't remember how they got there exactly but dream boat and survivor girl start making out in a big pile of trash, great time for a first kiss. It's short lived as Jason busts through knocking over a bunch of garbage. They flee and take the subway. Jason is on there. The teleporting thing. This begins this amazing montage of Jason just being an aggressive asshole. First he tools and a bunch of losers. The teeny bopper dude, I think, tackles him at the end of the line and knocks him into an electric grill. Sort of slows him down for a minute. Next thing you know you get Jason in Time Square, my second favorite scene in the flick. Punks see this and rage, for some reason, and decide to fuck with him. All he does is take his mask off which scares the shit out of them. Everyone is still running. They end up in Monk's Diner, maybe. People are barely fazed by Jason. Just another day in New York for them, I guess. Jason, on the other hand, seems to struggle with this many people to kill. Instead of slaughtering indiscriminately, which is what you would sort of hope for, he just focuses on these two.

Makeup Artist: Nailed it
STILL RUNNING, they end up in the sewer. Some guy, a sewer laborer, pops out of nowhere just to tell them the sewer fills up with toxic waste every night at midnight. Why? That seems dubious. New York in the 80s, yo. The boaters figure this is good time to bring up their issue and tell the guy about Jason who suddenly shows up, no surprise there, and pipe wrenches the laborer to death. To get away the girl splashes Jason with toxic waste that is just laying around. Jason takes off his mask. His face looks comically shitty and completely different than it has in all the other movies (it's never the same twice, strangely). This gives everyone enough time to escape as toxic waste starts rushing at Jason. You hear Jason's child voice saying "mommy, don't let me drown." That's fucked up. Then he throws up and drowns in toxic waste with his head turning into a rotting pumpkin. From there we get some more blue lightning and voila, Jason turns another child version of himself. What the fuck? I'd just leave him in the sewer. What the fuck did I just watch?

Researching what the hell that was about, I found an interview with director Rob Hedden where he explained the ending thus: “In the first film a young boy drowns and we find out it is his mother who is the one that has been killing everybody.  It’s not Jason.  That was a great twist, but young Jason still propelled the whole thing.  So, in our movie, he drowns in the toxic waste and turns back to that young boy.  I wanted to have it come full circle.  His soul has finally been released.”

So that was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a movie that really tested my Greatest Movie of All Time pledge. But it was totally awesome in a bizarre, train wreck kind of way.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Game Night is the greatest movie of all time

This was super fun. Like that Michael Douglas movie The Game where bored rich people pay a company to ruin their lives all in good fun. When I become a one percenter I am totally going to pay to have someone simulate kidnapping and murdering people on my trivia team. I'm only like half kidding about that as I do occasionally host game nights, do trivia multiple times a week, and do shit like escape rooms when I'm on vacation. Totally relate to that shit. Gotta love a movie like that. Greatest movie of all time, in fact.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.

Pros: Fun and funny. Light for movie featuring torture and murder. Basically everything Jason Bateman is in is going to be solid. Lots of surprise cameos.

Cons: Too many twists. It got a little irritating how many times shit would go insane and someone would jump out and say "it's all part of the game."

Staring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, Game Night features a gang of buds who meet with a pair of couples for a weekly game night. When Bateman's character's brother, played by Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights (the series) fame, who makes a living selling dubious shit on the black market, shows up and ups the unpredictability by signing them up for a kidnap mystery party which leads to some of the old ultraviolence when real kidnappers show up to the crib. As time goes by and people get  the group starts to realize that it is not all part of game.

The couples are made up of Kylie Bunbury (who was the lead in that garbage show Pitch), Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen (who looks like that Matt Bomer guy from American Horror Story but is not that guy), and Lamorne Morris (the black guy in New Girl). Some of the cameos include Jesse Plemons who was Landry in Friday Night Lights and a psychopath in Breaking Bad, Dexter (Michael C. Hall), Danny Huston (brother of Angelica who actually was in AHS), Chelsea Peretti from Brooklyn 99, and Jeffrey Wright.

Much of the humor comes as the group gets increasingly deeper in a violent, chaotic world they are ill equipped. But their competitive natures help them get through it. Favorite scene was the one featuring the game of Faberge egg football. They go to a rich people fight club where these one percenters engage in human cockfighting. There one of them steals the egg, they have to get it to save Bateman's brother who back stabbed Dexter's character and is being held hostage. It doesn't get more slapsticky than this but was still pretty funny. Also coming on strong was Plemons's character who is a cop that lives next door to Bateman and McAdams. The group basically dropped Plemons, who is a cop, after him and his old lady split. They think he sucks (he does) and go to great lengths to avoid him around game night. That dude is too weird and deadpan to live. Another great scene from the movie is when they have to go to his house to use his police computer and Bateman, who was shot earlier in the film, bleeds all over the shrine he has built for his ex and the guy's white dog. Good stuff.

The whole vibe of the flick reminded me of this dope Bill Murray movie from the 1990s called The Man Who Knew Too Little. Similarly, that film feature a clueless guy that unknowingly gets in over his head. If you like this flick you should definitely check that shit out. It's also chaos like another enjoyable flick from back when called Rat Race which featured a bunch clueless idiots trying to get to some location before everyone else to score some big payout. Both are zany and physical and also fun and uptempo.

The twists kind of get old. We keep getting people popping out of woodwork being like "that was all part of the game!" These keep getting more elaborate and ridiculous. After the third time this happened I was sort of over it and irritated. But it comes back around again, kind of, at the end when people have fucking died and such and characters were like, "oh, that was Kevin, he is an actor, he's fine," when he was obviously completely dead and such. Overall the flick is pretty fun. While I won't buy it on Blu-ray or digital, I'll probably rewatch it (or pirate that shit) when it comes to Netflix or HBO or whatevs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Annihilation is the greatest movie of all time

Holy shit. This movie was crazy. This movie has everything: self-immolation with a grenade, bears that absorb the screams of the people they maul, a phosphorescent technicolor yawn, shimmer people interpretive dancing. That's that thing where your shimmer doppelganger mimes you  as you flop with your hands over your head like a European NBA player circa 2001. Everyting. This is why it is the greatest movie of all time.

What the fuck from beginning to end is a fucking starting off point. I can't stop thinking about it. It was great. Probably won't ever watch it again though.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll.

Pros: Fucking beautiful. The fake nature stuff was awesome in that Avatar way except it's going to hold up 10 years down the line. Super trippy (microdosing may seem like a good idea but do not microdose for this movie, speaking from experience here). Super engrossing.

Cons: Ending is vague. Intentionally confusing. An extremely distressing movie going experience. If you can't deal with that shit, this not your type of movie.

Good time to remind everyone that I spoil the shit out of everything so watch out. Here are my "hot takes", as the kiddies say...

Gist of the movie is a group of women led by physiologist Jennifer Jason Leigh (Single White Female, The Hateful Eight) go into a shimmering anomaly that engulfs several square miles of coastline somewhere in the southern United States. In this mysterious and dangerous area, DNA mutates and refracts creating unpredictable creatures and reeks havoc on all who enter. The movie stars Natalie Portman who joins the expedition after her husband, played by Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), shows up after returning as the sole survivor of a previous mission into the "Shimmer". Once in, shit be cray. Also in the flick are Tuva Novotny whom I've never seen before in my life, Gina Rodriguez whom I've also never seen, and Tessa Thompson (Creed, Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld) who is mad hot right now. It was written and directed by one Alex Garland (Ex Machina) who wrote dope screenplays and books before directing, and was adapted from the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. I guess it veers wildly from the book which I haven't read. One thing I heard about the book which I wish would have been kept as is was that the singularity was completely unexplained. It was just suddenly there and spreading. Here it was something from space.

Ground zero looking super exciting
The movie is deliberately confusing. We are sort of made to feel like the characters that have gone into the shimmer. They say it feels like they are all in the early stages of dementia or something like that which is the vibe we get. Getting info in fragments and without context. We get little chunklets that shed some light on what is going down but this leads to more questions. This is movie that requires active participation from the viewer. I feel like most of the answers are there but you have to connect the dots yourself.

I've seen the movie mostly compared to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey with the whole surreal/abstract finale and dissonant/alarming music, John Carpenter's The Thing because of the terrifying unnatural creatures with the bear and the body horror of the fungus/plant man in the pool, Alien for obvious reasons (it is the sci-fi/horror movie that they all aspire to after all), and Solaris with the whole question of am I really who I think I am (literally) among scientists undergoing emotional crises and doppelgangers. I thought it was also James Cameron sci-fi porn. Like Aliens it has the paramilitary group going into the unknown and getting picked off one by one. Like The Abyss we have an alien being mimicking terrestrial life while also threatening to annihilate it. Like Avatar with the insane visuals and people willing becoming the other. And it had Sphere DNA as well with the whole investigating the origins of a mysterious shimmering thing that brings nightmares to life.

It was its own thing too: refracting themes and images from those films for what is a fresh and demented shift for the sci-fi/horror genre. For sure it was unsettling but in a way that was alien. Two scenes--the one involving the bear and the one involving the liquid metal dancer person--were unpleasant in part because of how unreal and unimaginable they were. During the screaming bear attack scene where the most unhinged of the four ladies that had survived to that point had tied the other three up when this bear shows up having already killed one (maybe two) of them and was aping that woman's death screams with easy access with all of them in restraints, I tried to put myself in that position and my brain went to shit. That shit really disturbed me. It was fucked. Did not like. Then at the end with the shimmering mime/doppelgangers, did not like that either. That starts out with one of most beautiful fucking things I have ever seen. It was an indescribably beautiful mound of light and color that moved like liquid.

The movie hinges on the concept of self-destruction. We are all doing it, the movie says as I sip a frozen coke, eating Cadbury Mini Eggs while on little bit of acid. Raw, organic vegetables for me from now on. The psychologist of the bunch explains that people rarely commit suicide. Rather they destroy their relationships, smoke, drink, freak out at work, so forth, and these things lead to our demise. It's in our DNA, she argues. And here we have a group that is not so well adjusted going into this singularity, a lighthouse, where the shimmer started. This is the most dangerous point imaginable. The parallels to Chernobyl are striking and disturbing with the fluid mass of color sort of  resembling the elephant's foot (the radioactive made up of nuclear fuel, melted concrete, sand, and core shielding that melted and flowed together) at the base of the reactor that went full meltdown and is also deadly as shit. Anyway, the ending is highly interpretive but it seems that Portman's character is the real version of herself with altered DNA. Her eyes shimmer (which leads some people to think this is a clone but I don't see how that is possible or makes sense), she has another chick's tattoo, and she is no longer self-destructive (it is implied) though she does destroys the doppelganger version of herself. She overcame that genetic defect (assuming it is actually encoded in our DNA [I have no idea]) and has now self-actualized or whatever. Now she's not going to bone any of her coworkers (she was cheating on her dude with another professor) and is going going to go live with her husband's doppelganger happily ever after. And that is Annihilation. Great flick.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Every movie is the greatest movie of all time

After minimal consideration, I have decided not to shit on movies anymore. For me to consider something bad, it's got to be fucking BAD.  However, as time has gone by and I've watched movies that are supposedly garbage, my threshold for what I can watch and consider entertaining has significantly changed and I see  even the Worst Movies of All Time as having their redeeming qualities. I am therefore hyping every goddamned movie I see. They are all amazing. Greatest movie of all time. That is all.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the greatest movie of all time

Continuing with the Academy Awards movies, talking about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which I saw a few weeks back. One of those Oscar movies. Was up for a bunch of awards. Won the Golden Globe for Best Picture. Not that Oscar though. It was pretty alright though I feel it became cool to hate on it. Probably not the most zeitgeisty movie of 2018 and was likely to ruin everyone's careers if it won all those awards, like Crash did for whatever reason, but it is by no means a shit movie like I'm suddenly hearing. Part of it is was this a comedy? A drama? A comerama or what have you? Directed by one Martin McDonagh who did In Bruges and Seven Psychopatchs. Also movies of that is this like a joke variety. This guy.

This one is all about a mother, Frances McDormand, who puts up these three confrontational signs in her yard, maybe, calling out the local sheriff, played by Woody Harrelson (who is dying of cancer) for sort of not doing enough in her mind to catch her daughter's rapist/murderer who set her on fire. Also features Sam Rockwell who is a dick bag police who ends up being on good terms with everyone in the ends (but is still a dick bag). Mixed in with a bunch of dark as shit humor. Just having fun with it, I guess.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deftly balances black comedy against searing drama -- and draws unforgettable performances from its veteran cast along the way.

Pros: Impressive ensemble cast. I'd watch a McDormand, Harrelson, and Rockwell. It was a good story (despite not being very taut) based on an interesting premise. Despite being way over the top, it felt pretty real.

Cons: All over the place. How they fit all this in one movie is crazy pants. Redeemed Rockwell's character too much for my taste. Sort of gives vigilante justice a pass.

This weirdo
The cast carries this McDormand does the McDormand thing that she does in all those Coen bros movies she is in. A brooding, stern, character of few words, and sort of funny performance. Like Fargo or The Man Who Wasn't There. Same shit if you like that. Woody and Rockwell too play characters that were probably written with them in mind and great. Rockwell's mom, who is also Mac's mom in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Grandma in Napoleon Dynamite, is the only person in the world that you would want if your movie calls for a hideous chain-smoking bumpkin of an aging single mother. She has that shit locked down. The dude that played Red though, one Caleb Landry Jones, who was that creepy brother in Get Out and that creepy brother in The Last Exorcism and was the creepy boyfriend in Twin Peaks, that dude was probably the breakout star here. You also get some Dinklage action as well as John Hawkes and Clarke Peters character actor goodness.

Again, the movie was pretty good but there was some shit. Not trying to give too much of it away here but you don't really empathize with McDormand's character in the end because of shit she does. Rockwell's Dixon is a fucking piece except towards the end when he does one thing that is okay. Then he is a piece again, kind of/sort of. And the end is irritatingly vague in that dumb you have to draw your own conclusions way which in this case was unnecessary. But, yeah, if you want to see some top-notch (perhaps over) acting, then this is a movie to check out. Especially keep an eye on Woody who is like his generation's most underrated thespian. Plus he is super cool. Gotta love a pothead vegan. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I, Tonya is the greatest movie of all time

Academy Awards are tonight. And the Oscar Damn. That Margot Robbie is really something. Really, really, really something. I have seen her in three movies. In all of them (Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad, and I, Tonya) she was phenomenal. This was her best though. She is the new Meryl Streep, this one, and this solidified it, for me anyhow. On her performance alone this would have been of the greatest movie of all time variety, but seriously, so much more that fucking rocked. Kenyon grad Allison Janney was fucking great. As was the guy who played douchebag Jeff Gillooly. It was nice reliving this little chunk of insanity through this medium and fucking believe the world is a better goddamned place because of this movie. Though it does give Tonya too much benefit of doubt. Like her mom would say, “fuck her.” Also, Nancy still seems like a bitch, which will never not be unfortunate (a lot of negatives there, I mean it always be shitty) since she was the victim and all.

Alison Janney. Known for playing great mothers.

Pros: Margot Robbie. OMG is she good. Ditto Allison Janney. Pretty much a flawlessly acted film. The way the iceskating is shot is super cool and impress. You are on the ice with her basically and Robbie looks like an Olympic figure skater (for the most part). Pretty funny considering it's about a real life shit show.

Could you imagine if this chick played you in a biopic?
Cons: Sort of amounts to a Tonya Harding apology (in the classical sense) film. Nobody is really on board with that. Music is a little much and too on the nose (do we really need to hear “Devil Woman” when Tonya's mom is being terrible?).

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband's people do the thing. You know the story. This is absolutely the Tonya version, hence I, Tonya, which has some basis in fact but is super kind when it comes to its subject matter. So if you fucking hate Tonya, which I imagine we all still do, keep that in mind.

This is not the movie for you if you are squeemish when it comes to domestic violence. It is brutal and fucking sucks. We start out seeing little Tonya acting exactly like you'd expect, her mom (played by Janney) drinking like a chimney, chain-smoking, so forth, is super abusive. Doesn't like it when Tonya doesn't land tricks like many a Olympic parent, I'm sure. Beats her for all kinds of stuff. Then she meets Jeff played by the guy who is Bucky in the MCU movies and was the asshole 80s guy in Hot Tub Time Machine. He beats her for the rest of the movie and even almost shoots her once. He is fucking terrible. They all are. But it's great.

Probably the thing I was most impressed with aside from the performances, again, fucking sick, was how they shot the skating. Not only does it seem that Robbie is an Olympic level skater (which she obviously is not) through effects and what have you but you end up on the ice with her as she rushes through her routines. It's a pretty dope effect. 

Favorite scene though was when she got screwed at an event early in her career and the judge told her it was because she looked like a bull-dyke and Tonya told her to "suck my dick." Classic and classy. My kind of gall, that one. 

Overall, it was pretty cool to go back in time and relive all that shit with an insider's perspective. Up to that point it was some of the craziest shit ever. I mean it is still nuts. Reality train wrecks were already carving their way through the zeitgeist in the early 1990s (before Tonya there was Buttafuoco, John Wayne Bobbitt, the kid getting caned in Singapore, Lyle and Erik, the Gulf War, so forth)   but at the time it seemed like that really escalated it. Then, like we see at the end of the flick, OJ came along, did his thing, and now fucking Trump is the goddamned President. But yeah. Dope movie.