Month: January 2014

13 Assassins (2010)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


Ah yes, the classic “Let’s get a bunch of guys together to go kill some other guys.” Never fails to be an entertaining plot.

One of my all time favorite films is The Street Fighter, with the sequel, Return of the Street Fighter, following close behind. The Street Fighter movies have nothing to do with 13 Assassins with the single exception that they are all Japanese productions, but I’m going to talk about The Street Fighter anyway because I don’t give a fuck.


Moon (2009)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

Moon - Final S

Moon is the story of Sam Rockwell on the moon. Replace the moon with the New Jersey countryside. Replace Sam Rockwell with Dom (yours truly for our new readers).

Nope, the story doesn’t change much. We’re still watching a character toil fruitlessly in the center of a great big vat of nothingness. I did spend a good portion of my time while watching Moon thinking about if I would choose to go to the Moon for a three year solo work commitment. Give me a steady supply of films, a desk, a chair, a laptop to type on, all the music I want, and I think I’ll be plenty happy. I may be bored from time to time, and, sure, I’ll miss human interaction, but I have existed inside my own head for most of my minutes and hours and days and weeks and years so I don’t think I’ll face much trouble.


Julie the Fortune Teller

I had a few interactions with death during my time abroad. One Cambodian friend was drunk and drove his dirtbike into a wall. An expat I knew in Cambodia succumbed one day to his many ailments. Everyday he had come to the bar at 6am, sat in the exact same spot, took out his book for the day, and then drank and smoked until nightfall. Every single day. I’m told he had been holding this schedule for the past five years. The day came when he wasn’t there for the opening shift of the bar. We knew what had happened, and we left his spot at the bar open for him.

And then there was Julie.


Gotta Eat (Feed Me, Feed Me)

Damn, I’m hungry. Not hungry in a philosophical sense for a life of greater purpose or in a psychological sense for increased cognizance (Well, I am hungry for those, just that’s not what is occupying my mind at the moment), but the simple hunger that comes from not having food in your belly.

My family has a notorious reputation of unhappiness and temper tantrums when we don’t eat. It gets ugly, you wouldn’t want to see it. Tears are shed, plates are broken, blood is drunken, you know how it goes.


Closer (2004)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


I like Closer a bit more than I probably should. Not that there’s any problem with liking the film or anything, but I happen to think it’s maaaybe not worth it’s 8.5 score. It’s teetering on the cusp, but this scene puts it over the edge into Grilled Seal of Approval territory. What a great scene!

I watched Closer for the second time because I had been looking for Anti-Valentine’s Day movies or The 10 Movies Not to Watch on Valentine’s Day. Closer, with its near-continuous stream of lies and infidelity, certainly fits the bill.


Rush (2013)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


Some of my greatest memories from Asia are from my motorbike trips. Whenever I visited a new town I rented a motorbike and tried to get as lost as possible. One of the best trips was riding from Da Nang, the biggest city in Central Vietnam, to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam.

As you ride north up and down and up and down the brilliantly green mountains, the ocean stretches out wonderfully to your right. The sun cooks your skin, but there’s a cool wind billowing around the mountain and you feel fine. You’re getting a little concerned about running out of petrol, so at the top of every mountain you turn off the engine and allow yourself to glide down at the speed of gravity.


Modern Vampires of the City (2013)


Somehow I missed the boat on listening to Vampire Weekend’s latest album, Modern Vampires of the City, when it was released last year. I had never been much of a Vampire Weekend fan or at least I had never given them much of a chance, so I delayed and delayed until finally I scheduled a time to process the album. There is a song on the album that affects me much more than it should. It’s always interesting how a certain chord progression or vocal melody or whatever can inspire a powerful reaction in its listener.

The particular moment came to me in song three, Stepwhen in the chorus the singer, Ezra Koenig, belts the lyric, “I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my boooooneeees.” For some inexplicable reason, the second iteration of “bones” affects my soul like nothing else.

“I feel it in my booooooooneeess.”

God. I am so jealous. What a wonderful feeling to affect a person in such a way that they keep repeating and repeating and repeating and dissecting and listening and consuming the same exact three seconds. Is it pure luck to create something so beautiful? Is it the result of thousands of hours of effort? Is it the random result of God smiling down upon his ignorant heathens? What is it? What is it that forms such beauty?

Pink Flamingos (1972)

9.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

pink-flamingos-movie-poster-1972-1020196465 (1)

I left Pink Flamingos sitting unwatched on my computer for at least six months before I finally let it roll. I had heard a few rumors, a few tremors of delight, a few murmurs of disgust, but really I knew nothing about the film. All I knew was it would take a very special occasion to watch it. I needed to be in exactly the right mood. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. I’ve seen many (too many) movies over the past six months, but Pink Flamingosremained sitting, waiting, and untouched.

Then, it happened. Maybe there was a strange breeze that blew down from the North, or maybe I was just feeling a little mentally ill, but whatever it was, the feeling smacked me in the face like a bushel of rotten oranges.


Fruitvale Station (2013)

10/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


Forget Wolf. Forget Hustle. Forget Gravity. Forget whatever else came out. Fruitvale Station is the Grilled Life BEST FILM OF THE YEAR. A high distinction, but one that I, of course, do not bestow lightly. It’s always difficult for me to emotionally connect with a film to the extent that I will be shedding tears, but I at least came close with Fruitvale. Powerful and depressing and shocking and wonderful and terrible. Such a useless death.