Felonious-Punk

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Reviews

Another Period
(2013)

Uh oh! I think I'm in love again!
Mid first-episode and I think I've found my new favorite show, and there's like 3 seasons of it!

I think one misconception of it is that it's just a funny period piece show, or that it's a mock-reality show set in 1900's US history. Intriguing, yes, for a minute. I mean there's only so many hours in a day, sand in a bottle, and what good does that premise do me anyway? Why is that pertinent to the times and the culture? And that's why I took so long to give it a chance. But Leggero's charm pulled me in. And now, I'm laughing every minute. Sometimes for minutes straight. Classic lines smacketing out left and right. It's utter mayhem. It's Marx Brothers. That kind. That good.

So, what is it exactly? It's a rich, snobby reality-show, where the characters are so disconnected from the rest of their species that it's shocking. But have the year be 1900. Basically, if you wanted to watch some of these reality shows, but you've heard they're so stupid, and so many times, that you just know you'd hate it. Yet still, you like to laugh at current shows and not have all of them be thought-provoking podcasts. Then, this show makes it intellectually engaging enough to do so. You get to understand or at least witness the psychosis of the characters while still remembering that they are not necessarily to be admired or emulated. They are not heroes. You are witnessing your time, understanding it, not being indoctrinated into some kind of cult-worship. Maybe that's what the camera lens does, creates heroes.

Have you ever wanted to watch the Office or shows like it, but felt like the office environment got old and dreary after an episode or two? This show is more flamboyant, gaudy, can go anywhere, and it's steeped in history, while still maintaining current humor and hilarious, but somehow astoundingly fitting, contemporary musical soundtrack-segues. The modern editing fluorishes of the segues are also easily appreciated.

And have you ever wanted to watch those old period-piece tv shows, but felt the characters and the drama seemed too unrelatable or otherwise too over-the-top emotional or action-packed? This show is completely unrelatable and more over the top than any of those shows! And it gets away with it, it works, because it's a comedy. Everyone knows it's not really 1900. And everyone knows that we're expecting to be shocked, so when the shock actually comes, we feel it instead of using some of our delight wondering whether it was scripted or how planned out it was. We KNOW this was scripted! And it was scripted by geniuses. It was produced by geniuses. It was conceived by geniuses. Everyone on cast and crew deserves a promotion!!!!!!!!

Fleabag
(2016)

We are in the psyche of another person, and she's fun!
Only 2 episodes in, but what a show!!! Great idea, living through life with this cool character and her interestingly drab life. She sees it as quirky, so we go along with that, and we're better off because it. It's honest communication that she can't share with anyone but her most private self, and that happens to be exactly where the show puts us! It's like we get to be friends with this hilarious pretty and adorably pitiful girl. Thanks and/or good job, I love her!

Black Monday
(2019)

Makes you realize you miss and needed House of Lies
Awesome editing, music, acting, and story. Don Cheadle is back!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the story is even more interesting than House of Lies, because it's about history.

Forever
(2018)

Best show ever
Really it is. It's quality. The writing, the acting, the editing, the unpredictability of each episode. The complex moods of sincere longing and silliness, boredom, and compassion. It makes me hopeful and grateful at how far we've come that people have made a show this perfect.

Who Is America?
(2018)

Dude, did you really?!
Dude, did you really?! This is the effect of this show. That feeling when your friend does something righteous that no one else would do. He's a hero to you, that friend. And Sacha is that for us. With that said, I do not enjoy all of the interviews. In fact, the one about the art dealer who was shockingly open was enough to make me think for a week that I would not watch more of this show. But by the next week's episode (coincidentally), I had decided to give him another shot on the strength of the other interviews that had remained in my consciousness from the first episode. And I also liked how Bernie kept his integrity. Sacha really brought the goods. He really stepped up his game. In fact, I'd say, he just became legendary, historic. And he was already near those gates anyway. But this project really shot him well over the dividing line. It's a real window into humanity and our neighbors. And always, there is that thrill of, oh no, you're not really doing this, are you? Oh no, you are!!!!! He goes through the boundaries that I thought existed. And he does it, mostly, with purpose. I'd still like to hear his thinking behind the art dealer interview. How does that service us? How is that funny? Minor complaint so far, about a major accomplishment. But, eh, nobody's perfect! Some though are legendary. And this show is that. Like Michael Moore legendary. Like George Carlin legendary.

Strange Angel
(2018)

It's like if Cassavetes made a TV show
Fantasy show about a man who is in obsessed with doing something great. It's not the best acted or directed show, but it's tied to history, and it's tied to excitement, and it's tied to religion and strange cults. The parallel story of the Asian hero adds to the color and taste.

Chris Rock: Tamborine
(2018)

Yes, Chris Rock has still got it!
We used to die laughing at his comedy specials back in the day. Then, I really got into comedy specials, old new white black asian latin american european african middle eastern male female transvestite gay lesbian bo burnham intelligent silly confessional artistic, etc. Chris Rock opened my world up. And then, everything kept moving and growing and kept relating to current times and kept pushing the envelope, and when I saw this special advertised, I thought: "Oh no, old Chris Rock is gonna flop, but I'll just check it out out of respect. He just can not keep up with where comedy is today. I mean Dave Chappelle was a god, and now he's hit and miss."

But he nailed it. He killed it. It was laugh out loud hilarious, but it was even better than before because it was more personal deeper more painful and I felt healed afterwards. He didn't flinch. He didn't do safe easy material. He went for the gold. He put in the work. It felt like he was putting it all on the line like a young comic. And that's something to be proud of him for.

But most impressive is the wild shifts in tone he makes. Sometimes he's the no-holds barred gangster rapper, sometimes he's a cuddly dad, sometimes he's a wealthy celebrity, sometimes he's a lonely man. And he keeps shifting around, brilliantly.

Thank you, Chris! And good job, Bo Burnham for directing. Definitely in the top 50 all time specials. Maybe even in the top 25.

Phantom Thread
(2017)

Beautifully told fairy-tale for a sexist world
A fairy-tale story in which a lonely boy wants to keep playing with his toys and treating people as objects, and never to actually face or engage with the world, until the young woman he ensnares forces him to change. What makes it interesting to discuss is the multiple story-lines that thread through it. At times we are in a story about an artist who must maintain his integrity but also remain popular, and we fear that love will ruin this. At times we are in a story about a man surrounded by women, controlled by women, and haunted by women, looking for a way out of persecution. At times we are in a story of a young woman looking for fun and love who ends up in a house belonging to a spoiled brat and his mean and jealous mother-figure. Will she run, or will she find enough reason to stay? Will she be able to catch the thread of his love for his mother and tie him to herself?

It is a beautiful and suspensefully-told love story but it is not feminist. He is successful and famous, she is a modest and kind. She doesn't try to take over the artistry, she aims to take control of the home-life, so that the man can continue being the famous artist, and she can be famous in the house. In this way, the movie is not a huge feminist statement. It is simply a statement that, even in a male-dominated world, a healthy heterosexual relationship must be brokered by both strong independent people, not just the man. If you are looking for a raging fireball of cinema and equal rights, check out "Camille Claudel" (1988).

Better Things: Rising
(2017)
Episode 2, Season 2

Was this the best thing ever on television?
I think this might just be the best thing I've ever seen on television. At first, I thought Louis C.K.'s comment that this is the best show right now was a self-promoting lie. I was willing to forgive him, because so many artists do have to self-promote, and some get carried away. Some are still under the creative bliss that they were in while creating, and that bliss carries over when they are asked how good the work is. They can't know. They only know how true they were, or how true they wish they were.

Then. I thought: "Okay, maybe he's being honest and funny at the same time. Because he knows the show is just okay, but there's nothing really much else to compete with in this season.

And finally, during this episode, I realized that this was unbelievably good. Like OMYGOD good. Like "am I really watching this?" good.

As a man, it kind of checks you and makes you think. And as a woman, I'd suspect it is unnervingly different, but hopefully it makes you grateful for the refreshing honesty, and re- invigorates your desire for progress in all media. That was the goal, anyway. And that lofty goal alone deserves a heap of praise, because what other show invests so much ambition and meaning into a TV program? They are few and far between.

Mozart in the Jungle: Not Yet Titled
(2016)
Episode 7, Season 3

One of the best TV episodes of any series ever!
Cinematography, editing, meaning, acting. It's all top-notch.

It's actually part prison-concert documentary and part drama. It brought tears to my eyes for how beautiful the music is and how nicely it all came together.

Much needed in a series that has become very silly, especially after the uncomfortable/forced kiss in the last episode.

This episode deserves a lot of praise for the attention it brings to the prison population and the daring of it all. Bravo!

The rest of this review is just filler to get to the needed number of lines required by IMDb. Pretty silly policy and I hope this changes soon.

Halt and Catch Fire
(2014)

masterpiece
I'm watching season two right now, and i just have to say: This is fricking good! the story is engaging, the editing is sharp, and the actors are of the highest caliber. It's amazing sometimes how smart it is! And I love the way it can be dreadfully suspenseful in one scene, and then stumble on the most sensitive over-looked aspect of life in another. I cannot pick a favorite character because they are all good, and that's saying something! I also am amazed at the high-quality of even the actors with smaller parts. The direction is impeccable. Who are these directors? Is it God? This show is a giant, and should be ranked with the best. .......... ...... ......... .......... ............ ....... .... ............... ............... ......... ........... ............ ................. ...... .............. ...... ................

Mad Men: The Strategy
(2014)
Episode 6, Season 7

Art worth dying for
Allegedly, Charlie Parker died while watching a superb juggling act. That makes me think there was something special in that juggling act, something so beautiful that it could bring a person to heave with such excitement to induce a fatal heart-attack.

For viewers who have followed the series, this is the climax. First, when Joan makes her declaration for love, and then, when Don and Peggy's relationship was consummated, and finally, the revealing of the final strategy for the Burger Chef campaign, the episode peaked and answered all questions about these characters. The episode exploded with deftness and profound meaning. Will I watch the next episode? Of course, I'll be loading it after the end of the next sentence. But there is such satisfaction from this episode's writing, development, acting, music choice, and directing, that it could have ended here and I would not have complained.

Love
(2015)

Show me how gentle you can be
One of the greatest movies of all time! After "Irreversible" and "Enter the Void", I thought director Gaspar Noe would have reached his peak. I thought either that, or maybe he would have nothing left to show, but this movie satisfies what the characters in the movie are looking for. Towards the end of the movie, one character bemoans the complete absence of "sentimental sexuality" in cinema, and proposes to supply it, and earlier, one of the characters challenges another: "Show me how gentle you can be." This movie is Noe's offering to that challenge. This movie continues in the recent history of French movies that seem to keep erasing the boundary between pornography and art. And yet this movie seems to be one of a kind, thanks to how personal and vulnerable it seems. It seems to be a magnum opus, as do all of Noe's works. That's part of what makes them so thrilling to watch: they all have a distinct spirit of desperation infused in them, a hunger to be great. This movie seems to be ground-breaking in its camera-work, in its story structure, in its handling of nudity and sex. And it's very beautiful. It soars where the latest movies of many formerly great auteurs seem to strain and miss. The cinematography and editing are top-rate, and there are no more devoted actors than these. The soundtrack alone deserves to have a substantial essay written on it, the way it sounds 80s yet contemporary yet futuristic, the way it sounds menacing yet romantic yet hip and yet like the soundtrack to a porno. Perfection!

Irrational Man
(2015)

There is no one like Woody, the closest thing is Hitchcock
Woody has such a full body of work that's stretched for decades, there is hardly anyone to compare him to. That being so, it's even interesting to think about people's reactions when a new one of his movies is released. After watching a new one, the most vocal people tend to try to rank it either at the very top or very bottom of his movies. I think that does the movie-watching experience a disservice.

There's very much to like about this movie and just as many ways to watch it. For one, it's like a classy fun witty and romantic Hitchcock movie, albeit transposed coolly and beautifully to the present-day. For two, Khondji's cinematography is an absolute afternoon delight. For three, the three leads are brilliantly cast and played. For four, it's a fun movie about an ethical experiment. For five, it's a fable-like tale of good and evil, safe and daring. For six, it's a very intense story of girls and women, and the very harrowing gulf between. For seven, it fits majestically within possibly Woody's most noble ambition: to have the same movie be as good a comedy as it is a tragedy as it is a story of triumph, in other words, it's an ambitious script. It's an ambitious script also because of the shifting of narrator throughout, and the way each shift pulls at our sympathies. I was laughing at the same time that I was biting my nails and trying to remember to breathe.

We're truly blessed to be able to watch these when they're new! Future generations will envy us, the way we might envy people who were there to see the new Hitchcock or even the new Chaplin.

Mr Selfridge
(2013)

Shifts into high gear at Season 1 Episode 5.
Awesomely detailed sets, costumes, story, acting, crowd directing, and overall production. Reminds me of the Jeremy Brett "Sherlock Holmes" series.

But this series really finds itself in episode 5, when each of the story-lines finds its groove and the cast and crew really give it their all.

Never liked Piven much until this. Frances O'Connor is spell-binding as Mrs. Selfridge!

Oh, and it's true to history, at least the basic backbone of the storyline is.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
(2014)

Gaspar Noe and John Cassavetes win the Oscar
Beautiful production in this movie but it's ripped off from Gaspar Noe's movies like "Irreversible" and "Enter the Void". The subject matter and themes are out of John Cassavetes' "Opening Night". In the end, the wonderful cinematography, editing, production, and acting don't really amount to much because the heart is not deep. Yes, the story of a person trying to make something of value and to be appreciated is a good story and has been told well in cinema many times, but this movie didn't seem to believe it. It was more caught up in big names and smirking at Hollywood. Inarritu's "Biutiful" was more worthwhile.

Samsara
(2011)

Immense, God's-eye-view of our world!
Immense! This movie shows us things we're familiar with and things we have never even imagined, and yet it all comes from somewhere in our home, on our planet, within our environment. Framed by Buddhist philosophy and art, we have a god's-eye-view of all continents, all classes, so many cultures and vastly different terrains. We see the endless desert- scape, we see Cairo, the United States, China, Tibet, indigenous peoples of South America, the architecture of Rome, the worshippers of Mecca. We see various trades, the wounded, the dead, families, contrasting political and social agendas. We are left with a feeling of bittersweet grandiosity, the way that Buddhism leaves its adherents. Pain exists, we may never get rid of it. Maybe violence cannot solve violence. Maybe the path of progress is a lot slower than most of us think, maybe the only solution is to take on this weighty all-encompassing compassion that this movie offers up, and pray that it spreads by example and because it is the most virtuous and inevitable way. That's the magic of this movie, that it does not look down on anyone, it seeks to document everyone as they would be documented, and yet there is editorializing, however subtle it is: that we all have the nobility of consciousness, and we are all each as consequential as a fleck of sand upon the Sahara.

Jasper Redd: Jazz Talk
(2014)

Proof that America does comedy best
Unique speech pattern, unique material, great show! Starts out with a handful of jokes about fast food, but they're told in such a serious, sly, tongue-in-cheek way that you cannot help busting a gut. He covers sex, religion, race, terminology, currency, but it all feels so fresh because his Southern accent and cool demeanor makes it a perspective that we find we have a void of. It's real in a way that a lot of English, South African, and Irish comedians just can't be. It feels potent and light at the same time! And then there's the jazz accompaniment! What a lovely comedy concert! I'm ready for more! It's in between pot humor, civil rights speaker. He's like a calm, mellow Richard Pryor, a smoother Louis CK, and he carries himself more proudly than Anthony Jeselnik. Winning combo!

Boyhood
(2014)

Another Linklater gem, possibly even his masterpiece
Another gem from director Richard Linklater. You might even call it his masterpiece, I know I'm debating this as I write even now. The premise is: a boy grows physically, intellectually, and spiritually over the years. It is famous for being a movie twelve years in the making, visiting the actors, settings, and even some props every year or two, to not just tell a story, but to literally show it. As I watched the first two or three jumps-in-time, I was very conscious of the rare technique, thinking all sorts of things like about the logistics of such an endeavor, how the actors had to really commit in a way that most actors don't have to, how the director committed and achieved his vision, what that preliminary vision even was, how complete he thought it all out or not, how improvised it was or was not, how much the direction changed over the years. And then, as the years kept jumping, I felt the characters begin to appear. I began to find myself searching inside little Mason and feeling his strengths and fears, his quirks, and mannerisms. I began to find myself watching the other people in his life and watching them age, change, and mature. Melancholy arose, humor arose, neat coincidences arose, goodbyes whisked by. There were surprises like people showing themselves as less wholesome than they first appeared, or people stepping up to the plate after seeming like perpetual losers, somethings seemed vague and never fully connected. But in the end, it felt just like life. It even shows us ourselves in our cute phases through the pop songs that pepper the soundtrack, through the politics of the day, as well as through the the growing prominence of technological gadgetry. But in the end, it's just the rare moments that make the magic, snippets of the boy and his sister as kids fighting, snippets of them hanging with their dad on the weekends, snippets of their mom in the background always trying her best, never asking for repayment, snippets of the pressure to get along with other kids, and snippets of trying to make a place in the world. The photography is poetically beautiful at times, and the editing is unbeatable. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are astoundingly good, and so is the lead actor, Ellar Coltrane. It's almost impossible to rate or rank it on the same night of having first watched it. It feels like it will take some time to process it and understand what we've really been given. I think that this is its greatest gift, this feeling of having nothing else to compare it with, just like our own lives. All we can say is that it is potent, fragile, and the moment is always new.

Funny Face
(1957)

Flash meets substance
It starts in some bizarre zone between cheesy and marvellously modern, but it's all style and flash. There's no substance in the first ten minutes, but when Audrey Hepburn comes into view, it's like the floodgates of emotion have been opened, it's like the sight of land on a barren sea. She plays her role like a naive heroine expecting a sincere fairy-tale only to be surprised by a macabre parade of shallow 20th century modernity. This instantaneously creates a clash between two worlds, and we are hooked at least to see how the next scene plays out. But in the end, we are let down by the leading man. Fred Astaire is no match in romance for such a queen as Ms. Hepburn.

Barefoot
(2014)

Great actors in a tragic mess
I began watching this for the epic Evan Rachel Wood. I found a good performance, another good performance by the male lead, and I found an epic miscommunication between script and direction. It couldn't make its mind up whether to be a heartwarming story, a humorous romp, or an intense psychological drama/romance. It did not juggle all of these facets, but rather dropped each and every one. I kept hoping it would get off the ground, get untangled, but it didn't up to the 2/3rds mark when I stopped watching. So bad I even began wondering if Evan Rachel Wood is as talented as I thought or if she has a bogus agent or if someone dropped out of the project last minute and Wood was stuck and stayed out of a sense of obligation. Yikes! Not what I'd want my audience to be thinking about during my movie.

12 Years a Slave
(2013)

A Masterpiece of Human Horror Tragically Edited as a Horror Flick
Had the potential for eternal glory in cinema history, but the soundtrack, and the editing were off that badly. Luckily, if you're a person who can appreciate a stellar screenplay, directing, acting, and cinematography without paying attention to the afore-mentioned fumbled aspects, then you will love this movie.

Yes, it's horrific how the character's life changes and how if we put ourselves into the character's shoes, we realize this just may be the worst possible fear for anyone in his or her right mind. Unfortunately, just as I started to feel that, I got rattled by the strangely cutting in and out of the soundtrack and random objects flashing large against the screen. The lasting impact is that the mood was fumbled: Instead of taking horrific to mean the horror of realizing that we, as a species, hold that kind of sadistic torture in our souls, the direction shifts manically between the direction of a campy slasher movie, an experimental Bruce Connor kind of movie, and a pretty good cover of "The Passion of the Christ". Come to think of it, there may have been this kind of mix of editing styles in "Shame", but for some reason, it fit more smoothly there, possibly because the latter movie was more psychologically-rooted, whereas this movie is more situationally- and historically- rooted. So, the flashiness only takes us out of the feel. It's as if in the editing room, there was an argument about whether to try to capitalize on the hidden little art crowd or the larger shock- and-thrill audience, and they tried to capture both rather than trying to stay true to the movie's potentially independent spirit. Sad, but here's hoping for a new edit!!!!

Party Girl
(1995)

I disagree. I think it's great fun AND a quality piece of cinema!
Strange, avant-garde, campy, AND feel-good. This movie walks a delicate line. Parker Posey is phenomenal, but so is the writing and directing which crams every moment and every character with witty humor. It's a cool, sly type of humor, for example: a librarian yells out "I've already got you on the list for the new Danielle Steele." Then we see that she's talking to a young black man who gives a confused look. Young black males are not Danielle Steele's targeted demographic, so is this a unique man who is embarrassed by being outed as a Steele fan or has the librarian confused him with someone else. That moment causes us to question our stereotypes and gives us a laugh at the same time. But that is one miniscule joke in a movie that has thousands of such bits. It's thoughtful, intelligent and a bit emotional when it comes to the main character's search for herself and her full potential. Bravo!

Hadaka no shima
(1960)

Stellar status most of the way through, fumbled and lost because of plot
Pure. Thick and heavy. It's like going through a gallery of paintings where every piece is a timeless treasure. It's as pure a movie as can be found. It's got its own style, it makes its own rules. There is no dialogue, no sound of human voice other than when the family goes to town. And just when you feel like you can't take anymore of this life, the movie slaps you in your face and you simply understand: this isn't make-believe, it's real life, and if you are busy being bored, you're simply wasting precious time when there's work to be done. The work for us is to enjoy all the beautiful angles, the daring framing which somehow often cuts off part of the image but by virtue of that cutting-off keeps the realness perfectly intact. The editing alone is a masterpiece, cutting just as the characters and setting reach a sublime visual harmony, and returning with a new set up full of many little details fluttering and seeking balance all over again. This movie defines what visual story-telling is and forever should be, because it almost never gets bogged down in drama, it ebbs and flows in synch with the nature around it. Plus, the talent of the actors is beyond belief, most definitely owing much to the direction.

The problem comes in the last quarter of the movie's duration. After teaching us not to be sentimental, the movie then takes us through what would be a tragedy for us in most other movies, but here we don't exactly know how to feel. The movie up to this point taught us to detach from emotion, so we kind of just want to get back to work and we don't see the sense in wallowing in misery. And so when one of the characters displays a desire to wallow in misery, we don't have any connection. That is the downside to not getting to know any of the characters' individuality. We have never heard their voices, never understood their dreams or frustrations. Because of this, the movie's miraculous shots, though technically good, become devoid of cinematic beauty because their context is muddled. The audience slips out of the spell that for more than hour seemed impossible to break. A+ for Ambition though.

Desire Me
(1947)

Gorgeous photography, slick editing and a gripping look at relationships and moving on
Its structure is intense. The way it's edited kept me always on the tip of my toes. I was biting my nails through half of it, and feeling a nervous guilt in the pit of my stomach through the other half. This movie has it all, from one of the best escape scenes ever, to a whole spectrum of emotional truths. I found myself switching my opinions many times about the characters and what actions they should take. All the way through the ending, I was proud for the people who lent their efforts to make this movie. The acting and cinematography are unbeatable. I repeat, unbeatable! It might not be air-tight in plot details, but it gets a certain sense of cinematic perfection across that can also be found in other 1947 movies like "Out of the Past" and "Black Narcissus". I love those movies just as much as this one, if not more, so it's a little baffling how hard people are ragging on it.

It seems like the making of the movie was beset by hardship, and left a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of the cast and crew, but I see no reason that it should leave a bad taste in our mouths. It's just too gorgeous a movie to forget about. And any hardship and injury that came of it only makes the cinematic achievement that much more astounding. But ultimately, this movie's greatest achievement is that it surprisingly exudes a maturity that is more common in movies made closer to the present, for example, Mike Leigh's morality-play movies "Vera Drake" (2004) and "Another Year" (2010). It's time "Desire Me" had a re-evaluation, if you ask me.

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