Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet is the fourth feature film by infamous writer/ director David Lynch. While I’ve seen Lynch’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic Sci-Fi novel Dune (which our new writer Matt is in complete and total love with), this marks the first proper Lynch film to cross my eyes.

Blue Velvet is about a young man named Jeffery (Kyle MacLachlan) who returns from college to his home town of Lumberton after his father is hospitalized from a stroke. While walking through a field near his house, Jeffery stumbles upon a severed human ear. He brings it to a local detective, as one does, but then decides to do his own amateur snooping and sleuthing. He befriends the detective’s daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), a decidedly ’50s ho-hum-gee-willikers type gal, and after she provides him information on the severed ear case, Jeffery convinces her to help him break into the apartment of Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer that has gotten herself associated with some very, very bad people. Heading these bad people is the perverted and psychotic Frank Booth (a supremely coked up Dennis Hopper), who has kidnapped Dorothy’s husband and child and now forces her to perform sexual acts against her will. Jeffery, now exposed to the disgusting underworld of his otherwise idyllic hometown, feels the need to further investigate these mysterious and dangerous goings-ons in Lumberton.

(more…)

Half-Assed Movie Roundup Extravaganza!

Half-Assed Movie Roundup Extravaganza!

I’ve seen a few movies since the last time I posted, and I’ve started writing about a bunch more that I saw in  2017/ early/ mid/ late 2018 but for the life of me I can’t get to completing a full write up for any of them. So. I’m just going to blast through each movie I haven’t gotten around to posting about with two sentences each because using only one sentence is too much of a hack gimmick, right? Whatever. My blog, my rules. Strap in kids for the first ever HALF-ASSED MOVIE ROUNDUP EXTRAVAGANZA.

The Devil’s Candy (2015): Horror and heavy metal is never a bad combo in my books. Fun, creepy, and full of heart.
Seven (1995): Had a good time watching it, but it was ultimately forgettable. Don’t @ me, Fincher fanboys.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017): My favorite movie of 2017, by far. Not better than In Bruges, though.
Spiderman: Homecoming (2017): It was fine. I think?
Paddington (2014): Way better than a movie about a talking bear that eats marmalade and gets into zany antics deserves to be. I sincerely think almost anyone can find something they like in this movie.
Paddington 2 (2017): More of the same. Not as good as the first, but still better than it deserves to be.
The Babadook (2014): I really wanted to like this movie. I was pretty engaged throughout most of the runtime because the cinematography is great and the acting is superb, but ultimately the stumbling third act and very end pulled me right out of it.

Tenebrae (1982): My first Dario Argento movie (really!), and I remember almost nothing. I’m not throwing Argento away yet though, because I do still really want to see (and I have very high hopes for) Suspiria.
Casablanca (1942): I always thought this was just a boring movie for old people about old people. Boy, was I wrong.
El Mariachi (1992): Not as good as Desperado. Ultimately forgettable, though.
Desperado (1995): I remember having a blast watching this. Ultimately forgettable, though.
Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003): Not as good as Desperado. Ultimately forgettable, though.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017): Brilliant and relevant dark comedy with a huge heart. It felt like a cross between a Jeremy Saulnier and Martin McDonagh flick.
The Fall (2006): This is the best looking movie I’ve ever seen. And I only cried a little bit while watching it.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): A super fun spooOOOoooky Halloween-time movie. The cinematography and visual effects are on a whole other level.
Eraserhead (1977): Genuinely unsettling, and totally deserving of all of it’s hype. Lynch solidified himself as a filmmaker that I need to explore the filmography of fully.

The Shape Of Water (2017): Not as good as everyone said it was. Not as bad as everyone else said it was.
Ringu (1998): Spooky and atmospheric the whole way through with some interesting characters and creepy moments. Haven’t seen the American remake, so I can’t compare unfortunately.
Terrifier (2018): Good gore, fantastic villain, terrible everything else. I hope the inevitable onslaught of sequels will be better.
Coco (2017): “Remember me!” Sorry, but I honestly don’t.
Akira (1988): There is way more stuff crammed in this movie than I first thought. Absolutely beautiful hand-drawn animation and a crazy, inimitable style.
Isle of Dogs (2018):  Very Wes Anderson, and a lot of fun despite how dark it gets occasionally. I don’t get the controversy behind it though.
Mom And Dad (2018): It’s called a Sawzall. That means it saws all.

So, voila! Here’s uhh, something. Happy Halloween weekend, go stay in eating shawarma and watching weird Japanese movies while everyone else is getting blackout drunk.

-David

It (2017)

It (2017)

Boy, oh boy, it’s been a little while since I’ve been to a big theatre to see a movie. Last I saw was Baby Driver (review: it’s great, go see it!) maybe a month ago. It’s been even longer since I’ve seen a horror flick on the silver screen, so considering the immense hype train (which I will admit I was happily riding) surrounding the new version of IT, you can bet your butt I’d be there.

IT (I’m going to refer to the story’s title in all caps to help avoid confusion) is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name, and somewhat of a remake of the 1990 TV mini-series. I haven’t seen the version from ’90, but a lot of people seem to love it, particularly Tim Curry’s unhinged performance throughout. I’ve read the beginning of the novel, but it’s snowblinded Stephen King (which I’ve mentioned before) that clocks in at over 1100 pages, so forgive me if I don’t finish it this decade.

IT takes place in Derry, Maine (duh), and follows the Losers Club, a group of kind of nerdy, kind of dweeby, kind of outcast kids who discover that an evil entity wakes up every 27 years to terrorize and devour the kids of the town. The de facto leader of the Losers Club, Bill is interested in investigating this evil force since the mysterious disappearance of his brother Georgie last summer. As the Losers try to piece together the mystery of Georgie and Derry’s other missing kids, they encounter the evil, which has taken the terrifying form of Pennywise The Dancing Clown, because coked out Stephen King that’s why.

(more…)

Stalker (1979)

Stalker (1979)

Bartender, get me another Tarkovsky. Stronger, this time. For those of you sighing heavily, I promise I’ll get back to watching the trash Hellraiser sequels soon.

I gave my whole Tarkovsky spiel in my write up on his 1972 introspective sci-fi film, Solaris. After having missed Stalker at my local independent theater, I was disheartened that I wouldn’t get to see it, especially after one of my co-workers saw it and really enjoyed it. But alas, you can always count on the Criterion Collection to re-release old school art films for way too much money, and a couple weeks ago, they did just that. Talking about the value of films and how much they should cost is a debate for another day. Let’s just get to the Russian arthouse weirdness.

Stalker takes place in a strange world. Is it post-apocalyptic? Perhaps. Nothing grows in the non-specific country in which Stalker takes place. Buildings are ruined, and the earth is cracked beneath everyone’s feet. Is it a dystopian hyper-industrial future? There’s more evidence of this, with the militaristic police that seem to be patrolling every street corner and every back alley. Chemical factories and power plants make up the skyline. Whatever the case, the world of Stalker is a funereal one. Three men meet in a bar. We do not know their names, only their professions. The Professor, the Writer, and the Stalker, a man trained to bypass the military quarantine surrounding a mysterious area of lush greenery simply known as the Zone. These men are prepared to risk their lives for their mission into the Zone, as legend has it that within the Zone lies a room that can immediately grant the wishes of anyone who enters.

(more…)

Solaris (1972)

Solaris (1972)

Editor’s Note: I started writing this while kind of blitzed (similar to my Bye Bye Man review, but with maybe half a dozen more bottles of Alpine in me), so bare with me here. I took a sober moment the next day to comb through this write up and clean it up to the usual amount of typos and grammatical errors.

I’m lucky enough to live in a town that has a local independent cinema, which screens a ton of newer indie releases as well as manages to show old prints of classic movies. Local arthouse and documentary films also get a home there, but the reason I’ve taken a new shine to the place is because they’ve been on a bit of an Andrei Tarkovsky kick recently. Last month they showed Stalker, arguably his most revered movie (honestly, among Tarkovsky fans, every single one of his films is up for being considered his best work) which I unfortunately wasn’t able to catch. I was kicking myself for that one, so when I found out that they’d be showing Tarkovsky’s philosophical sci-fi epic Solaris, I made sure I was able to make it out to catch it on the big screen.

For those of you who might not know (I was only introduced to Andrei Tarkovsky recently), Tarkovsky was the most famous Soviet era Russian filmmaker, and was able to produce art so expressive of his own feelings and thoughts his films were repeatedly banned, seized, and burned by the USSR until finally he was exiled from the union. Among the arthouse and independent film fans, Tarkovsky is usually held in the same echelon as Kubrick, Lynch, and Coppola. He’s apparently kind of a big deal. This film is the first I’ve ever seen of his, so we’ll see how he stacks up.

Tarkovsky’s 1972 offering Solaris is often considered as a Eastern European response to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a slow, heady sci-fi flick that uses its setting and creative choices to explore interesting and thought provoking themes and questions. Solaris is smaller in scale and a little more introspective than 2001, following a psychologist named Kelvin who is sent to a space station orbiting the eponymous ocean planet. Kelvin’s mission: to investigate the strange messages received from the station. Word is that most of the crew are dead and the survivors have since descended into madness. When he reaches the station, Kelvin is informed that there are “guests” on board: physical manifestations of the occupants’ memories, apparently conjured up by the alien planet below them. Before long he runs into what appears to be an amnesiac version of his wife, Khari. Kelvin is particularly distraught over this, considering Khari committed suicide a decade prior. Things then get weirder, and much more Russian.

(more…)