scarletminded

IMDb member since March 2004
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Reviews

The Theatre Bizarre
(2011)

Very strong horror anthology
This takes me back to horror anthologies like the ones Peter Cushing or Boris Karloff were in. I liked all the stories here. Each had its own tone. A lot of people did not like Richard Stanley's Mother of Toads but I felt it had an occult vibe I enjoyed. Dust Devil is one of my favorite movies, so I might be biased. Other stories like Sweets and Wet Dreams had a lot of gross yet visual appeal. The Accident is almost a zen-like peon to childhood horror and the reality of death. Others like I Love You and the one about the killer who injects herself with eyeball juice from her victims to see their memories are very dramatic and intellectual more than gross. If you want more cerebral horror with mystery that has decent acting, good music and lovely cinematography, then check this one out.

Super Troopers
(2001)

Really boring
I guess this is compared with National Lampoon but it must be crap like Disco Beaver From Outer Space people are comparing it to because it has the same amount of laughs, which is next to none. The beginning scene had promise and I did laugh at the "moustache ride" joke with the German couple, but the rest...it is boring. A joke where two cops just repeat each other? A pig in a RV joke? Ramrod? Bear in the woods sex? The script is boring and makes no sense. The acting is horrible too and everyone in this just seems to be getting jobs for Broken Lizard projects and nothing else. Are these just privileged white frat boys getting funding for their vanity projects or what? Dull. I am not sure who would like this.

Starry Eyes
(2014)

Metaphoric?
When I got done viewing this, I wondered if it was metaphor of indie filmmaking dreams getting stabbed by the Illuminati film lords in their corporate-type studios. I thought a lot of it was metaphor, which breathes new life into a suffering genre. It is the first good horror film I've seen in a long time. Plus, it pays tribute to Argento, Goblin (I would LOVE a Starry Eyes soundtrack on LP) and Lynch without stealing that much or being weird for weirdness' sake, The acting is much better than other horror films and I liked how the lead's job at a "tater" place was like working at Hooters and how she felt like she was selling out anyway. Why not sleep with the producer to get a part? It does have a Mullholland Drive/Inland Empire feeling of dread, though MD had funny parts. The movie would have also been good without excessive gore, though this film builds up old school with the suspense and character development, so I can forgive the hand weight scene. Even the title card was 70s-ish. I liked that a lot. Everything was pretty good...I would out it up there with a film like Ginger Snaps. I like films with layers and I do believe that it is a metaphor about the corporation film cult snuffing out the little filmmaking indie guy. Plus, the psychological angle with the woman who tore her hair out was also great. I am looking forward to other movies this director does, especially if he uses the same music composer.

Garfunkel and Oates
(2014)

I blew through this on Netflix before I knew it was only one short season
Not sure why this was only one season. It is brilliant and a lot more funny than other shows out there. It has satire and depth. I really like the intelligence of their songs. I have watched them on You Tube way back. I was hoping some of the songs would get another video like "Douche" but you cannot have everything. I am not sure why shows like The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men stay on the air forever, yet real insightful comedy gets pushed to the side, every time. I liked Oates on Scrubs too. Ditto Raising Hope, another super funny show that was canceled before its time. My favorite song of this duo are "Pregnant Women Are Smug", "Sports Theme", and "Loser", though I am unsure if the last one is supposed to be happy or sad. I like those "Douche" and "Bland- job" songs too. I was so happy they got a proper cable show and so sad they did not get to keep it more than one season. But what a season. I will have to watch them again.

Old Joy
(2006)

Emperor's New Clothes of a movie
I watched Night Moves, then sought this one out because I did not like Night Moves and I thought the director's older movies might be better. Nope. I am not sure why this film got such a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There is no plot, no gripping dialog, barely any action and it looks what anyone could take, film wise, of a camping trip.

All the hullabaloo about it being relaxing or a character or nature study is lost on me. I have seen character study movies that go somewhere. I feel this is all the Emperor's New Clothes, where I see the movie being as naked as the men in the tub, which apparently you can't have beer or be naked in, since I just read that in the credits, while others are talking about what regal robes the main character were wearing and shake their fingers at me because "I just don't get it, Man!"

Yes, I sat through the whole blessed thing. I have seen experimental movies like this, Warhol shots of buildings and they were good because he tried something new.

I mean, there were two parts where this could have gotten better. When the stoner guy talked about the other guy not being a "real friend" anymore, it seemed like there was an old story there, like maybe he slept with the other guy's girl or something but it did not go anywhere. Then when the stoner guy, I call him that because he smokes a lot in the film, it is the only time he does anything, talks about his dream then rubs the other guy's shoulders, I thought maybe the problem with their friendship was that the stoner was bi and the other guy was not. But it never got explained. The stoner guy also took a physics class but did not say anything about what he learned.

These movies, Night Moves and Old Joy seem like film class homework, not finished films and I watch a lot of films made by slow moving director like Lynch and Kubrick. Even as a pretty view of nature it fails, because there was not a show lot of nature shown. More like them drinking beers and kinda firing a target gun.

Maybe you could put it on in the background and get joy from it like one would get from a TV Yule Log. Not sure. It would be nice if the cinematography was better or good. Then it would be like watching as episode of nature, but with annoying hippies that think they are being profound. Why do movies like this get such high marks? I watch a ton of different movies, from weird to normal and I cannot get into this. At all. If I paid $10 to see this at my local indie theater, I would ask for my money back. I could just film my walk from the theater and enter into a film fest. Is that what award making movie making is like now?

Hot in Cleveland
(2010)

Gets better with age
I used to watch this on TV Land. Now I am trying to catch up via DVD. One thing I like about this show is the use of older actors, like the main four ladies, but also other actors like Carol Burnett and Tim Conway. It is probably one of the few shows out there that is a comedy that showcases older actors and actresses and that makes it stand out.

I also like the shows that keep current, like the one with the Brony and the other where Elka paints that weird re-paint on a cathedral a year or so back. I find the plot lines to be unique. I will watch this show to the end and also its too spin off shows, because I did not know about them until now and they also have actors I like.

Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Special
(2015)

Kinda like the Grammys, I do not like the Grammys, but if you like that style...
This special was like the Grammys. If you like awkward opening musical numbers, odd introductions, people who look like they showed up to get a check and skits that sometimes hit and sometimes don't then you will like this. I did not really understand how Paul McCartney or Miley Cyris ( maybe if Vanessa Bayer played her it would work). There were so many years and sat members skipped over and when it had clips, they were too fast and not focused enough. The time could have been spent very well, as part doc and part skits...with some new stuff added it. But hey, at least Opera Man was there and Colon Blow too. It has a little merit hence the 4 rating. It should have been more of that and more cast members and less athletes, Michael Douglas, etc. There was way too much filler.

Feuchtgebiete
(2013)

This will be the movie that will define the whole "women be crazy" thing
My boyfriend and I saw that this movie was playing at a local theater a few weeks ago then ended up on one of our online movie services. The premise is interesting but the thing is I see that about every legit movie that explores women's sexuality in an intimate way ends up with a "women be crazy" bent. Well, I would type out the word beginning with B, but I won't. At most, this film is a punk rock gross out exercise that tries to find inner meaning, but falls flat. I have to say in its defense, it is an unique movie and even hardened art house movie fans who think they have seen it all can find something special here. By the time the lead character ripped herself open again, I guess for love, I wondered, "Why was this movie made?" I would like to see a movie with a similar theme without the female insanity. I wholeheartedly wonder if men think women are actually like this. The pizza scene too, made me laugh because it was over the top and so unnecessary but a bit funny. A few sexual fantasies and a ripped anal fissure and you can be on your way to love too, maybe.

The Zero Theorem
(2013)

Not Brazil, but still great
When I got done watching this film, I wanted to see it again, much like riding a roller-coaster then wanting to get back in line. I found a small theater in San Diego showing this, a place that sits about 50 and the thing is, I do not think this great film was shown in any proper theater in this city of a million plus. What a shame. This movie is like Brazil in the way it's culture is 40 years behind. Like Brazil was made in the 80s but had a 40s feel, this is that environment but set in the 2010s but with an 80s feel, brighter and neon than the film noir of Brazil.

The lead character lives in a dilapidated church, but his faith is science and finding the zero theorem. He speaks in a Ayn Rand Anthem "we" speak and does the same mundane stuff everyday until he get dragged out by a co-worker to see The Management, who was played by Matt Damon, but I did not know that at the time. I found my glasses, but that was a good thing.

From there, a call girl and The Management's son come into play, with the kid calling people "bub", which reminded me of 12 Monkeys. I think Brazil, this and 12 Monkeys are supposed to be set in the same world. I love the little background bits like the "no" park that has a X of signs containing more No Smoking, no heels, no dogs commands, reminds me of the dog in Brazil that has an X on its behind. And the ticker tape commercial that follows people but can't escaped graffiti. Or the pizza that opens up.

That is all I want to say about it. Go see it. I have no idea why this movie gets such low ratings. I saw this and The Only Lovers Left Alive over the weekend and liked this one so much better. There is a lot of plot and prettiness going on, comedy too. I do know think this film got a good run In the theaters and the only DVD I can find is Region 2. I was glad a place here finally showed it.

This film is not Brazil. Few things can be. For one, Brazil had a huge budget. I do think this is Brazil's world, but even later when people have gone beyond torture to finding.a way to control chaos like a god. In a way, this movie is a way to find your reality and become you own god. It has a different message than Brazil and a decidedly more upbeat ending in my book, a lot more existential.

I Really Hate My Job
(2007)

It was OK but I couldn't hear the nuisances of the dialog
This is not an Oscar winning film by far, but I like talking films. I watched it on DVD though and could not get the subtitles to work, so I missed a lot of the jokes. But I did not miss Neve naked. It reminded me of Delicatessen for some reason, like the emotion of it. That is was sort of abstract. My boyfriend hated it, so it might be for people who like character driven movies. A lot of the editing seems random too, which I grew to like.

Thought the DVD displayed Neve, the main character I though was the cook and how she was the only one really doing anything and that is why she hated her job. The title of this movie could have been better. It is sort of a cop-out.

Tiny Furniture
(2010)

It's OK...reminds me a bit of Beeswax
I wanted to watch this movie to see what the big deal with Lena Dunham is. I don't think I found it here or a reason to watch Girls, which I assume is the same plot as this film is.

Dunham's technique is good. I liked to way she set up static shots. I know people complain about static shots, but I find them refreshing after seeing shows like American Horror Story go crazy with the hand held off and on focus shots. She did a lot with a little money. Not sure why she didn't admit her parents paid for the film. That is funny to me. "Mommy I want to make a film, can I have 50k?" "Yes, dear, let me get my checkbook and you can also use my swanky pad and we can act in it too!"

The one thing that bothered me was the constant reference to Aura being a genius. I guess Dunham subconsciously made her path. It is almost like she was pushed into a débutante ball and upon her discovery, Judd Apatow grabbed her on his arm. I wouldn't be surprised if all these people knew each other. It's sort of a roll your eyes moment, since I know a lot of people who have talent that will never get half the salary and attention Dunham gets. It's not only her, but a lot of people who make films.

Overall, this movie reminded me a lot of Beeswax. It has that mumblecore flavor, despite Dunham saying it had a script. It comes off like it didn't have one. I was introduced to characters that I thought would end up doing something, but none of them did. It didn't have much of a plot and ended flat like Beewax did. It's OK. I don't hate it but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it or Girls, which I think is the same thing. I think the pipe sex scene was done in a different yet same way for Girls.

I do have to say, Lena Dunham can whine. Her spoiled brat antics in this film are real and I think that is because she is playing herself. When she got into a whiny fight with her mom, that was the best "acting" in this film.

It was also a late entry into SXSW and won. Is that fishy or what? I feel sort of bad for those folks without rich parents who turned their entries in on time.

Young Adult
(2011)

More funny and awkward than I thought it would be
If you like shows like Louie, the you'd like this movie. I laughed a lot during it, the dialog and characters are funny, mean, sarcastic, sad and awkward all at once...much like real life. I thought the main character might actually get the married guy because she kissed him, so that was a nice twist too. The world of this movie seemed very real. The idea of the small town where some high school friends stay and other leave or that the same people still live with their problems in high school or come back to relive them...it seems very true to life. I think this is as funny as Juno but because it isn't as cute, it will probably not see watched by as many people. I think you need a certain type of humor to find this funny and I do. I would watch this movie again.

Animal Practice
(2012)

If was good, now it is canceled
I don't know why new shows aren't given a chance, but this show deserved one. I could see it working in a line up with Parks and Rec. I find it imaginative and it got better as it progressed. I saw the pilot and couldn't remember what night it was on. I saw they had the show online and I wanted to catch up, then realized it was gone and only had eight episodes. That sucks. It's a lot funnier than new shows like Go On and Guys With Kids. Plus, other shows like Up All Night and Whitney get renewed and they aren't as interesting. AP does have a Scrubs like vibe, but it is also its own show. I would think if you liked Scrubs, you would like this show as well.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
(1983)

Spooky atmosphere!! Plus the guy from Brazil as Mr. Dark, aces!
Maybe it is because I grew up with this movie, that I love it so. Especially watching it around this time of year. It drips Autumn and all its beauty and decay. Sure, the sets look like movie sets, but I feel this adds to the storybook like quality of the piece. I have read the book too and do see how someone in love with the book might be upset at this retelling. It doesn't bother me though and I will tell you why.

The atmosphere of this movie is amazing. The director, who also made The Innocents which is another favorite horror movie of mine, knows how to craft an image. The acting is all good. Mr. Dark, Jonathan Pryce, is my favorite, stepping out as the evil carnival owner just a scant few years away from Brazil, even though I never knew him in this movie until it was pointed out to me. Ah, acting and a beard makes all the difference. I would marry Mr. Dark, but then I am a Gothic minded girl who wouldn't mind the Dust Witch in the entourage. I really think happiness is over rated too, take me with you! I suppose, this wasn't the point of the book or movie, but I digress.

The child actors are good, really, no one acts horrible in this movie. It adds to the theater like quality of the movie, its dreamy and murky. I never knew Pam Grier of Coffy fame was the Dust Witch. Again, the power of acting and character actors can take it to the next level. I have no idea why this movie would get a "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, yet the audience rating is 63%, goes to show you how the movie is actually loved. The scene with Mr. Dark tearing out pages in a book to show Will's father's life passing by is wonderful, in fact, Jonathan Pryce, does a bit of a running monologue for the most part and makes it believable. Add the carnival and all its craziness and the Dust Witch in her shroud, setting fashion standards for the gothlings to come, it is a formula win for me.

I wish the scene with the Dust Witch in her balloon could have been added. It would have been cool to see. Or Mr. Dark being killed by happiness, which we all know is the best way to kill a goth. I wonder how the original cut of this was before special effects were drizzled all over it. I almost have to see the film Hysteria now because Jonathan Pryce looks like an older Mr. Dark in it. Growl!

Irréversible
(2002)

The violence seems a necessary part of this film
I didn't view this film for a long time. I was curious about the sound and editing techniques, but didn't want to watch the scenes of violence.

But the violence of this film seems necessary to its narrative. It's rape in its reality. There is nowhere to run. It's an act that destroys a woman, then ends up destroying the men who want to commit revenge. I feel the director must have known someone who went through this or something similar. When Alex is talking about her dream, where the tunnel splits in two, it is clear she has a premonition of how her life will never be the same. That there is a before and after to her now. Two parts. I don't think this film would have the same amount of impact if it wasn't as violent as it is. Or as pretty as it is at the end of it. It is the parts of Alex, being shown on the screen, before and after.

The way this film is presented is complete genius. I didn't even think I would like a film like this, but the pure chaos of sound and intriguing dizzying camera work creates the world where the characters, who were once peaceful and happy people, become frenzied, frantically searching for the rapist in a labyrinth nightmare of a SM gay club. The fact it is presented backwards and since the name, Irreversible, is a bold move. It ends on a happy ending. Of the woman, Alex, reading a book in a park where happy children run around her and an almost painful bombardment of 2001 type white flashes. It makes it even the more sad, that she thought her life and family were just beginning. Then the viewer has to think now, even if she wakes up from a coma, what life will she have? Her boyfriend's in jail for killing someone that wasn't even her rapist, due to his taste of revenge. Yet the end of the film is beautiful. It's all classical music and lightness...and hope. But there is no hope. Their lives are ruined, yet the view delights in the prettiness of us, that the horror is far away. Yet it isn't. This is what makes it amazing to me.

I am not sure why people walked out of this film. Rapes and murders happen in real life. People's lives get ruined in a matter of minutes everyday. This isn't a film for entertainment, though I have never thought torture type films were entertaining, but this is a film that makes you think and feel, even if it is disgust in the beginning. The parallels between what the characters say at the end of the film and what they say at the beginning is interesting too.

I probably won't view this film a second time, but it is the best film I'll most likely never see again. It's very intense and creates a mood which is hard to stomach on so many levels. But that is what I feel true cinema is. It takes risks, it has people walk out on it, it says something. It isn't like a cheap horror film that uses violence to titillate, it's a landmark in filmmaking that tells it like it is and has no qualms about it and doesn't apologize. I wish more films were like this, even non-violent ones.

Are You There, Chelsea?
(2012)

Dee Dee Makes This Show For Me
I was one of those people in the beginning that got confused with Prepon playing Chelsea then Chelsea Handler playing Sloane. Like another reviewer brought up, it was like Chelsea Handler was talking to herself. Prepon isn't much younger than Handler either, only five years' difference, so I am not sure why there had to be an actress to play Handler that wasn't her. Maybe they should have gotten a 20 year old actress and that would have worked better. But, overall, it's confusing.

I do like the character of Dee Dee, played by Lauren Lapkus. She is the best part of the show. Some of the other minor characters like Olivia, played by Ali Wong, are funnier than the main ones. That would be the reason to watch for me, if I could find out how to watch it. NBC used to have the shows on their website to view, but now there are only clips and I've missed at least 2 or 3 shows. So I don't watch it now, because it's on Wednesday and I tend to watch Modern Family and other ABC comedies on that night. I would have kept watching, but I am sort of blocked from watching it right now and it is sad, because I do think this show needs viewership.

Beeswax
(2009)

Reminded me of watching boring liberal hippie people at my old college
Don't tell me I don't get mumblecore. This film is boring and I can watch avant garde films which are only static frames of buildings and I like talking films like Metropolitan. Nothing happens. OK, someone hit the record button and people move and talk, but it never goes anywhere. It's like being a fly on the wall at the most tedious hippie indie store ever, with people who act like they have something to say or go to rallies for equal rights in marriage. But those things they seem not to have a real opinion on. The struggles of the film are as follows: one of the owners of the store might be sued by the other but there is little to no development of that plot line, then the clerk of the store gets the tape suck in the machine but not in a funny way, just in a normal "I don't know what to do" way, later she is crying...but I am not even sure why...I think no one even cares to ask. Is that the point of this exercise? It reminds me of an unscripted movie like Paranormal Activity, but with no action whatsoever, no ghosts, nothing to talk about except the most banal things. No opinions. No ideas.

It's not even shot that well. It is sort of like the director got people together, hit the record button and released whatever came out, because it would be mumblecore genius and someone would watch it. I watched it, but kept leaving the room to do things here and there, because it was like being around boring sort of liberal hippie college types that smoked too much to create thoughts of any meaning. The average person will have a profound thought now and then...or even more. If the director is making a point about reality TV and superficial people...it's been done to death, hundreds of times and better. People's heads are even out of frame for long periods of time. It's odd, but not in an intellectual way.

I noticed there was a piece of the actual 16mm film in the DVD I got from the library. No one bothered stealing it because it might be worth something. It isn't! :)

Chloe
(2009)

Watching this twice made me realize how excellent it is.
I was skeptical about liking this movie. I liked Erotica, but wondered if this movie would be a bit too much like Fatal Attraction, looking at the trailer. I rented it anyway, because I like Julianne Moore's acting and also how Amanda Seyfried looks otherworldly in this, like a fairy tale character. But I feel that is what this movie is about. It's more a drama then the thriller the trailer makes it out to be. It has a mysterious quality to it and is ambiguous, letting the viewer decide what is going on in the film.

It starts out straight forward enough...Julianne Moore's character Catherine thinks her husband is cheating on her so she hires Chloe, played by Amanda Seyfried, to set up a scene where she meets the husband and sees if the husband makes a pass at her. As things progress, an erotic element is added as Catherine lives out her erotic side lost to her husband through Chloe's stories of her sexual interaction with Catherine's husband. Then Chloe begins to fall for Catherine, while Catherine, being controlling, was only in it to pay a prostitute in a way that she could retrieve her lost sexuality.

At first, I was sort of angry with the ending. Because I always feel that in films with lesbian scenes in them, that one of the people involved dies, like it is a metaphor that sexuality outside the normal family life Catherine has is wrong and therefore Chloe is a predator of the family...OK, it's all Fatal Attraction...I won't be ignored!

But watching it a second time on DVD with the commentary and also watching the deleted scenes which I think add to understanding the stressful relationship between Catherine and her son, made me realize how much of this movie could be in Catherine's head. Like Chloe might not exist or exist as metaphor or fantasy. At the same time, she could be real. There is also the point of who is lying and telling the truth in this film. Is Chloe really having erotic adventures with Catherine's husband or is she making it up? Is she really a prostitute? She does have a quote in the beginning about being whomever a person wants her to be...but she never says she's a prostitute and she does take money from Catherine, but maybe she wants Catherine to think she is one. It's never 100% clear. To me, Catherine's husband could be having an affair with his student and Chloe too and could hide it well. I got that from the café scene where Catherine is with her husband and Chloe shows up, that maybe Catherine's husband has messed around with students and Chloe and can hide it well. Or he could be telling the truth, that he only flirts with students and has been 100% faithful to Catherine. Up to the interpretation of the viewer.

On the outside, it does look like the typical erotic thriller, with poor Chloe meeting her end Glenn Close style. In a nice way, reflective of foreign films, Chloe chooses to die, no one is killing her. She only wishes for Catherine to save her in the end because Chloe loves her, but Catherine doesn't come through. In a way, Chloe has to die. She is mystery. She is metaphor. She becomes whatever the person who pays her wants her to be. But she also has her true feelings, a girl with a mommy complex instead of a daddy complex, who finds her maternal lover in Catherine to replace the mom who left her. Catherine, at that point, wants Chloe out of her life, so she has no choice but to "vanish". It also adds to the point that Chloe could be in Catherine's head since she isn't there to interact with the son, the husband and Catherine, since in this world, Chloe has been with all of them.

I highly recommend this film. Especially if you like the director's other movies like Erotica. It makes me want to seek out other films he has done and also the French version of this film which apparently has less mystery. The sensuality in this film is top notch too. I was very amazed by the imagery and how this film was shot. It's very lovely and sensual without being cheesy or stereotyped. It's in its own little world.

Bunny and the Bull
(2009)

It was like watching The Mighty Boosh, if it was horribly depressing and trying to be quirky and indie
I got this movie because I do like The Mighty Boosh and also the IT Crowd. Since the DVD case had a quote talking about how Bunny and the Bull was one of the most innovative British comedic films of the decade, it had a lot to live up to and it stopped short.

I did watch a marathon of Darkplace today, OK, it was a short marathon, but still, maybe this made me think Bunny and The Bull would be non-stop hi-jinx and laughters away. It started out well, with a guy who lives in his house and won't go outside. The scene where he finds his food marked with the days of the week eaten by mice then has to call the crab place for some depressing veggie mix is funny. It doesn't pick up speed from there. It goes from this well developed space to being awkward (but not even in a funny way) and less interesting.

Simon Farnaby, who reminds me of Julian Barratt from The Mighty Boosh and even played a double of Howard Moon (called Harold Moon) in one of my favorite episodes, The Power of the Crimp, is the funniest part of the film. I don't think he's given much to work with but tries to make it as funny as possible. Basically, if you laugh, 90% of the time, it will be him doing it. The lead, Edward Hogg, reminds me a lot of Noel Fielding, the two of them could be brothers. Noel Fielding plays Vince Noir in The Mighty Boosh as the other main character to Howard Moon. So, this reminds me a lot of The Mighty Boosh with its actors and creative style. Yet, it isn't funny like the Mighty Boosh is. Picking two guys who look like the leads in his TV series, makes me wonder if Paul King didn't take the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to the two guys having crazy adventures route.

The road trip idea sounds like a good one, especially if done without leaving the house. I love the sets and the Michel Gondry-ness of it all. It does have a sort of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind vibe, but the opposite way, as Stephen the Shut-In (Hogg), reflects on his trip to Europe with Bunny (Farnaby). I was pretty sure what had happened to Bunny as Stephen had flashbacks every time he opened the eye piece on his door to look out...and it wasn't happy. There is a scene too, where a cartoon horse that stumbles so our hero's horse can win and they can go to Europe. But then the stumbled horse gets shot with a slash of red on the screen which isn't very funny or tragic, it's plain odd. I suppose it is meant to be ironic, but it's jarring to me. I am not really sure what the point of the movie was, other than to have Stephen go outside again and face his fears of the world. I mean, that could have been done in a more dramatic or funny way, this movie doesn't do either. It sort of sits on the fence, not wanting to make a choice. I do get how this movie is supposed to be in a mind and the mind can get tragedy mixed with comedy in odd ways, like a dream...so why I am not liking this? Even the bull part was Fisher King-like and I liked The Fisher King. This has so much I like in it, yet I can't get into its world and it is so frustrating!

Perhaps this wasn't supposed to be a comedy. Or maybe it's a drama with black comedy elements that I didn't get completely. But I like movies like that. I like The Mighty Boosh, Darkplace and IT Crowd. I like dark comedies. This film is totally marketed wrong from the quotes on the DVD. I would expected a little less laughs if this was marketed more like a depressing drama or deep yet quirky (meaning not a whole lot of laughs) indie film.

It plays like a depressing Mighty Boosh. Think of Mighty Boosh, then take the humor out for the most part and have it play like a serious deep yet quirky (meaning not that funny) indie film and there you go! :) OK, add in the fact that the Harold Moon like guy in this one gets the girls and the Vince Noir like guy doesn't and is a shut in...it's all about the same for me. This could have easily been a Mighty Boosh film with a few script edits. Overall, I didn't hate or love this film, I am sort of neutral to it, hence the 5. I watched it all the way through and didn't turn it off, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone either. Maybe it was just high hopes! If Paul King wasn't so good with other projects, I wouldn't be so judgmental!

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
(2004)

I caught this on Adult Swim and was hooked.
I stumbled upon this show at 3am on Adult Swim, noticing a few of the actors from the IT Crowd in the show. I watched ten minutes of it and I was laughing so hard, I had to record every other episode of Darkplace I could find. It's a parody show, yet with its own twisted humor added. It reminds me a bit of Dark Shadows mixed with Doctor Who. It had a lot of subtle wit, so those who are into that sort of thing will love it. I read that this series doesn't contain jokes...but it does, so I am confused about that statement. It is because the show doesn't have a laugh track to tell you when it is funny? The whole thing is a parody of 70s/80s badly made TV horror filled with jokes. I just wish it was available to us Americans, who would buy the boxed set if it was.

Act of God
(2009)

The DVD makes the film...watch it for Greenway and Frith
I rented the DVD of this film. The documentary itself is probably a 7. It knits together narratives about people who have experienced getting hit by lighting or relatives that died when stuck. Then there is a part about Shango I really liked a lot. There is a good mix of religion and logic in this film, which is contrasted by the extras of the DVD, like Peter Greenaway's original short Act of God, same name and subject. Greenaway explains how in his film, which is better than the documentary in my humble opinion, how he couldn't find a single person when his film was made in 1980 that thought they were being punished by God when hit by lightning.

If you like Greenaway, you should rent the DVD. The DVD also has Fred Frith adding the soundtrack and some of the visuals. Fred Frith has played with John Zorn and Brian Eno, just to name a few and employs some experimental guitar playing, like him pulling a rope around one guitar sting and then playing the rope with a bow or playing a brass ashtray with tiny light bulbs in it on the guitar. The extras include a longer performance, complete with giant dancing pillows.

The new documentary is only 75 minutes long and conveys the ideas of being stuck by lighting well. It's low budget and is good for what it is. But the extras of the DVD raise this movie up to a 9. A must see.

Act of God
(1980)

I love this film...reminds me of The Falls or H is for House
Peter Greenaway is not a typical documentary maker. That is what I like about him. This documentary about lighting is a moving artwork. Either you love this style or you hate it. I am on the love side. His angles are wonderful and he seeks to find the story within the story, not just present a boring one angle movie about how people felt when they were hit by lighting.

Water and rain play a key role in the scenes of this film. There is a great shot of a couple behind a sprinkler that looks very natural to me but not typical, rain in the back of another man's house with its windows open wide and shots of the sea. Graphics abound between the interviews, black and white type telling ironic stories of lighting, like a man who was bitten by a dog named Flash and couldn't get the milk on his doorstep so his wife did it and got stuck by lighting. There are also artistic bits about what plays call on lightning. Again, you either love this style and get sucked into the art of it or you dislike it. It reminds me a lot of The Falls (which is a spoof of documentaries and quite funny in a Monty Python sort of way) which is 185 minutes long and H is for House, which isn't.

If you want to know more about this movie, you should rent the DVD Act of God, which came out in 2009 and was directed by Jennifer Baichwal. Greenaway's short is on this DVD, along with an interview where he talks about it and also some My Life in Suitcases VJ footage of him.

Greenway is one of those rare directors that has vision. He knows what he wants his movies to look like. The viewer is bombarded with colors, graphics, irony, stories, etc. It is art come to life.

Rachel Getting Married
(2008)

It's like being forced to watch someone's home movies of their wedding
I like Anne Hathaway, but this movie is horrible. It makes her romantic comedies seem like Shakespeare. I knew I was in trouble when her character, Kym, is getting out of rehab and goes to AA meetings so there is a bunch of that mess in this. I tend not to like movies that keep focusing on how the addict isn't in control of themselves and to believe in a high power, etc. Yeah, that really seems to not work.

Then after some boring plot line, even the short sex scene is boring, there is nothing but a long videoed type scene of people playing songs for the wedding and talking about the couple. A rehearsal dinner. It's as dull as watching some video of a wedding where you know no one there. Think of being at a wedding where you are sitting in the corner and no one is talking to you or saying anything interesting...the whole movie's like that. Then the mom and Kym get in a slap fight and she crashes the car...and you end up feeling that they are a bunch of idiots, but not even in a comedic dysfunctional family sort of way. They are just superficial and dull.

Every body whines about their dim witted lives and you end up wishing for them to just go away. I have always wondered how people write and get money to make tripe like this, when other people I know have good ideas but not good networking connections. Like another reviewer said, the dialog is really choppy and not natural, it's off-putting, like the writer of this has never read a book or had a conversation. Sometimes it will work if the movie is oddball or fantasy, but it doesn't work here at all. Nothing works.

Anne Hathaway looks pretty in this, despite her odd razor haircut. It's probably the only reason to watch this at all...if you are a fan or a completest. Everyone else run away from this screaming, unless you love watching boring films of stranger's weddings, then you may just like sitting watching it and feeling awkward.

Oh, I stuck around long enough to see Robyn Hitchcock in there too. If you like him, it might be worth seeing his cameo.

I just re-watched Silence of the Lambs the other day and was excited before I watched this that Jonathan Demme directed it. Guess somewhere along the way he lost his touch. This movie isn't inspired at all.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
(2010)

I haven't read the book but thought this movie handled Greek myth well...
This is one of the few movies I've seen where they get myths right. If not, totally right, then close enough for me to not pull out my hair. For example, the myth of Medusa is that she was a priestess of Athena who got seduced by Poseidon. Since the priestesses was supposed to be virgins, Athena felt Medusa debased her temple and turned her hair into snakes. Medusa was still good looking beyond the snakes, that is what made her seductive in turning people to stone. Clash of the Titans didn't get this right, but this movie does.

For a kid's film, it is smart. Our hero finds out he is a demigod who is a son of Poseidon who gets sent to a camp of demigods. One of them being Athena's daughter. The two of them are conflicted with each other. This makes sense with the myths because Poseidon and Athena had a contest over who would win Athens. Oh and then there was that Medusa thing.

Ever assembling Athena's daughter and a protector satyr, our hero Percy, goes in search of the pearls of Persephone. They need to get Percy's mother's soul out of Hades. My only problem with the mythology here is that Hades is shown as a devil like creature and his domain of Hades is shown like a Christian Hell, where in mythology Hades was just a place for dead souls to abide. Hades was also given the realm to look over, he didn't choose it. The movie does reflect on this slightly. Percy and his group go to find the pearls, which are in Medusa's garden, in the Nashville Parthenon (great place to use in a movie like this) and in a Las Vegas casino. The casino part was the best because it seems to be a critique on Las Vegas itself: People lounge in luxury and don't want to leave, eating lotuses. So this place is the Lair of the Lotus Eaters. Amusing.

They finally get to Hades and Persephone meets them, while talking Greek to the hounds of Hades. Nice. But for all her dislike of Hades, Persephone is there in the summer time since Percy and crew have to get his mom before the summer solstice. So why is she still underground? It's a big myth fault, but I will accept it since it is so much more in tune with the myths than either of the Clash of the Titans movies. Along the way to get Percy's mom back, they find out a son of Hermes, trickster that he is, put the stolen lightning bolt from the title of the film in Percy's shield, so it looks like Percy stole it! Then after all hell breaks looks, literally and metaphorically, our hero finally comes to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

I haven't read the series of books this movie is based on. I know books are always better than the movies. I do like the demigod structure of this movie and how the mythological stuff is close enough for me not to roll my eyes in every scene. Except for the Persephone thing. She should be with her mom during the summer. I found the acting to be good, the hipness factor (making hip modern references or silly crap people do in kids' movies) to be pretty low and it was an enjoyable ride. I would recommend this to people who like a good story with a bit of mythology throw into it.

Portlandia
(2011)

I actually fast forwarded through this to see Kyle MacLachlan!!
I didn't have the highest hopes for this show since SNL is not that funny anymore. But I gave it a shot. The first episode wasn't funny at all, which lead me to believe this show isn't a comedy. Is it? I mean, the beginning part with the singing was so long and not humorous. Then the characters were flat and in the bookstore, in took me awhile to realize Fred Armisen was playing a woman. See, if you watched a Kids in the Hall skit, you would instantly know a guy was playing a female. In this, I didn't. If there are jokes in this show, I must be missing them all. Wait, there are no jokes.

It's a hodgepodge at best. Trying to be That 90's Show crossed with more topical sections, like when the two leads meet a bigamist cult that is like Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Overall, it doesn't make sense since that was in Texas and this is in Portland. I get the angle they were trying to create, but it is a lukewarm idea backed up with no spirit.

I don't think the two leads, Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who was more funny when she was in the band Sleater-Kinney than this, aren't very intriguing. There is something off with their delivery. I guess the side by side Portlandia and Black Books viewing would stand. You can do comedy straight but it has to be funny. This is not.

I struggled through the second episode because I am a Kyle MacLachlan fan, so I fast forwarded to his sections. He actually breathed some life into the show for a brief second. Maybe it is because he knows how to act serious yet funny. He gets it. Then in bounded Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation, a show I actually like and that I think is funny. But she always seems to play about the same character...still her scene in the bookstore was more inspired than Steve Buscemi's who played a guy who had to use the bathroom in the store and then ended up frustrated because he had to buy something. Having worked in a few indie bookstores myself, you would think this would bring up a chuckle or too. It didn't.

There is no magic to Portlandia. I wanted to see some of the other cameos, but I can't even stomach it enough to fast forward to those cameos. I have no interest in any of the characters either of the leads play. It's like watching a whole episode of SNL that isn't funny at all (I am looking at you Russell Brand, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro and Bryan Cranston hosted episodes...hard to make all that talent unfunny but somehow SNL currently does it...with only a few of the show like the Dana Carvey and Jim Carrey ones being actually funny) yet disappoints even more than "not funny" does. It's an odd accomplishment to make a show devoid of humor and isn't even interesting in style beyond that so I can get through a 20 minute show. Crazy.

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