Month: February 2014

12 Years a Slave (2013)

9/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

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So, I realized what is wrong with America today. I know, I know, that sounds like a terribly arrogant foolish stupid thing to say, and I don’t disagree with you about that.

But I stand by what I said anyway! Today I was reminded of the terrible, terrible people who inhabit this grand land of sweeping plains, vast meadows, cavernous caverns, mountainous mountains, and valley-ous valleys. Ohhhh sayy can youuu seeeeeeee byy theeee dawwwwwnnssss earrrrrlyyyyyyyy liggghhhhhhhhhhhhht.

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Back to Work, Yo.

“Back to wooork, back to wooork, to prove to the ‘rents I do more than lurkkk.” Sing it to the tune of “Back to school” from Billy Madison.

Well, tomorrow’s the day. I’m heading into New York to start an internship at a new video start-up. It’s been a while since I was in an “office” kind of setup, so hopefully I don’t trip and break a couple computers or pass out in the bathroom or do something else unfortunate. Onward and upward right? Perhaps if this goes well they will offer me a full-time job, but, hopefully, I will realize if an offer will come sooner rather than later seeing as it will cost me more to head into work then I will be receiving as a weekly stipend.

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

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I love this title. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Definitely takes the prize for “Best Film Title of 2013,” so congrats for that.

I always have to make a decision which film poster to use when for my posting. Sometimes I use a foreign poster, sometimes I use the alternate poster, sometimes a fan-made poster or even the DVD release poster. I like a poster that conveys a particular message about a film. It’s not as important in the alternate posters (which usually are abstract art pieces which may be indecipherable if you haven’t seen the film), but it’s a necessary requirement for most films.

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Took Personality Test: Failed

So, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test today and according to the test I am an ENTP. To that I resoundingly say, “Okay, maybe,” because I always kind of see myself in all of the personalities. That being said, the ENTP does seem to explain me a little better than I expected (or maybe my mind is just looking for answers and chooses to look at the results in a particular way).

Some things I learned about myself according to the test:

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Afternoon Delight (2013)

7/10

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Now this was a tough one to grade. On the one hand, some of the most painfully awkward hilarious moments ever devised are contained within this film, but on the other hand, the ending is absolutely bizarre. And no, not bizarre in a funny way or an inventive way or in a way that is remotely a positive. No, it’s bizarre because it’s a complete sell-out. Afternoon Delight spends the entire film telling us the main character is insane, then completely reverses its position. Well, not actually insane, but insane in the manner that makes for an traumatically awkward (but also interesting) film.

This woman single-handedly destroys her community, the relationship between two of her friends, and her own marriage. And then after all of the insane actions by this woman (which I should add are frequently very funny) the film decides to go all Hollywood and wrap everything up neatly  and bring her marriage back together.

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Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

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Ahhh, so after that stream of excellent high school movies (The Way Way BackThe Spectacular Now, and The Kings of Summer [though I’m sure you already know the titles by now since I repeat them every other posting and because you are completely addicted to my writing – aren’t you? Aren’t you… yes… yes… yes… that’s it… stare into the spinning circle… yes… you’re getting sleepy… very sleepy… now when I snap my fingers… you will remember nothing from your previous life… nothing at all… because you are now a bird… a bird who flies high above the treetops and the wooden blocks and the crystal blue oceans… when I snap my fingers you will be a bird… and only a bird… and have always been a bird… now… fly away… *snap*]) we now finally reach those oft-troubling years of middle school.

I looked this film up because I had remembered always seeing the cover in my local videotape store. I’m dating myself by referring to a time when video cassette tapes were used and there was such a thing as a brick and mortar video shop within five miles of my home. I could also rent Sega Genesis games there so that shows you how far back we are talking. No, I’m lying. Not about the Sega Genesis, but about the reason for watching the film. I was actually researching an article I was tentatively planning on calling – “Awesome Little-Seen Debuts By Great Directors.”

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The Room (2003)

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Of course, I heard about The Room years ago, but I avoided seeing it until now because it’s a terrible movie. And by “terrible movie” I mean, it’s a terrible fucking movie. And by, “it’s a terrible fucking movie,” I mean, it’s totally awesome.

My favorite aspect of the film is Tommy Wiseau’s constant creepy child laugh that emits from his mouth with the almost clock-like regularity. This dude finds everything funny. He enters the room and sees his friends – “Hehehehe.” He says goodbye to someone – “Hehehehehe.” He finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend – “Hehehehe.” Well, maybe I’m not remembering that last part completely correctly because there was a very small period of time between when he learns the truth about his whore of a lover and when he blows a hole through his skull with the fun end of a handgun.

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As Tears Go By (1988)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

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Wong Kar-wai movies (well pretty much every beautifully exotic foreign film too, I guess) offer great incentives to get out of the country and head back to strange lands on the opposite side of the Earth. The brilliant lights and colors and sounds of Hong Kong blend together with stunning women and sweeping operatic scores and mafioso and it’s easy to imagine myself standing in the rain in the middle of a bustling unusual city crying and begging my former girlfriend or wife or love or lover to come down from her apartment so we can talk and repair the broken strands of Us. There’s almost always a scene in the heavy rain in these movies, but I’ve never cared strongly enough about a disintegrated relationship to stand outside and beg for a small glimpse of her formerly familiar eyes, so it’s odd I would imagine myself doing it in Asia.

I told one of my ex-girlfriends, “No one’s going to love you more than I do,” (I was listening to a lot of Band of Horses at the time) and, of course, at that time, in that room, with us on her bed and her mouth spilling out the words that were cutting us apart, sure, I believed it. She, on the other hand, instantly saw through my bullshit, and simply laughed. Not in a mean way like she was making fun of me, no, but in a way that signified she knew she had more knowledge of the situation and that she knew she was the most mature person in the room and the one required to make the decision that must be made. She wasn’t mad at me, if anything she felt sorry for me. She felt sorry I was older than her and a whole lot more emotionally stunted.

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Primer (2004)

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We’re gonna have to start putting the “auteur” title on Shane Carruth if he keeps this up. First Primer, then Upstream Color – quite the impressive one-two punch.

I reviewed Upstream Color a few days ago so just keep scrolling if you’re interested in my thoughts on that. As for Primer, no it isn’t as peculiar of a film as Upstream, but it is good. And as a debut it is very good. And as a film that was made for $7,000 it is very, very, fucking good.

But it really is a call to arms. It’s a loud heralding to greet the rising sun. It’s the head of a newborn poking through the amniotic sac. It’s a breath of fresh air in a room of rotting fruit. Or maybe I’m heaping too much praise upon it simply because I saw Upstream Color first and loved it and I expect great things to come from Carruth. Sure, it could be that, but the film is interesting in its own right, and it’s exciting to be present at the beginning of an artist’s career.

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Upstream Color (2013)

9.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval

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Director Shane Carruth (or perhaps we should now call him auteur?) is a man on the rise. This movie is a breath of fresh air in every possible respect. It is complex and weird and wholly original and will possibly (likely?) warrant a higher score upon repeat viewings. What is going on here? There’s some sort of mystery, there’s some sort of romance, there’s a whole lot of freaky connections between people and pigs, and it’s all painted with the beauty and the precise skill of an artist with a original vision.

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