Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


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.


Afternoon Delight (2013)



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.


Upstream Color (2013)

9.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


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.


The World’s End (2013)


Let’s just get it out of the way and say it; Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were both better. Alright, alright, but The World’s End  is still pretty funny and more than worth the time spent sitting in front of a computer, television, or movie screen to watch it.

The film did cause me to start skipping down one of my mind’s back corridors in search of an imagined future where I will reunite with my friends for an End All Drinking Expedition similar to the one undertaken by the group pictured on the poster above. We’re going to have to go with my college group of friends here, because, (and you would know if you’ve been following my writing) I didn’t have many friends in high school, and those friends and I certainly never had any drinking experiences. I didn’t have any drinking experiences until I got to college (with the exception of a few beers pilfered from my father and drank in our basement bathroom in the middle of the night; a shining moment in the history of my young life right there…).


Certified Copy (2010)

8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


Turkish auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s first film outside of Turkey is a pleasant commentary on the changing state of relationships over time. When I watch one of these films (and by “these” I mean films with middle aged actors trying to figure out why their relationships went wrong or how to spend the rest of their lives or any number of other midlife crisis problems) I can’t help but wondering how my reaction to them will change over time.

I am currently young and able and as experienced in love and sex and relationships as one normally is at 25, so I look at these “midlife crisis” films from the far off perspective of an outsider. I can identify with the feelings and the situations, sure, but I will never truly understand the content until I have lived through it and have made similar mistakes and have had similar successes and conquests.


Animal Kingdom (2010)

9.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


Oh yes. Oh Hell Yes.

David Michod is a director on the rise and this is a very, very good film.

Hey, you know me by now, right? I make some jokes, I talk a lot of bullshit, I generally speak in terribly grammatically incorrect circles and tangents, but I’m not going to do that for Animal Kingdom. I’m not going to do it. I want to do it, but I can’t and I won’t. The movie is just too good to do anything except give it a proper standing ovation. The film is sort of like going to a monster truck rally when you are eight and being all excited to both see giant machines crushing and crashing into each other and waves upon waves of mullets and then, to top it all off, the lights drop off the earth, the engines become machine guns of explosion, and the trucks fly off their jumps and into the stratosphere,


The Descendants (2012)

9/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval


I’m going to paraphrase something George Clooney says in The Descendants. He’s talking about the perception of life in Hawaii from the perspective of those on the mainland. Life in Hawaii is a never ending beach vacation filled with Mai Tais, jet skis, and blissfully warm weather year round. Or so the mainlanders imagine. It’s a fantasy, and the reality is that Hawaiians have all of the normal problems in their lives, and the additional grip of living in the most expensive state in America. Though, of course, to that the mainlanders just shrug and say it’s the price of doing business in such a beautiful place. Everything always looks greener on the other side, right?


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.


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?