Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Girlfriend Experience

hyper realistic, but without purpose

the girlfriend experience is the latest film by steven soderbergh, who is generally hit and miss as a filmmaker. this is a miss on his part. the film is only 79 minutes, and almost all of them pointless. sasha grey (the pornstar) stars as chelsea, a high end hooker/girlfriend experience chick. meanwhile she has a real boyfriend who's ok with this all cause she makes great money. that's the whole film basically. it's shot kinda like a documentary, but the best part is the very realistic acting. the conversations are incredibly realistic, and seem unrehearsed. that's the good part, otherwise it's just a pointless little film. the story takes place during the 2008 presidential election for some reason. so there's tons ot discussion about the election, the economy, the state of israel, etc. but it serves absolutely no purpose. there isn't much conflict, and the film ends with us wondering why the hell we wasted our time.
by the way roger ebert gave this film 4 stars. he is quite the prostitute. any indie film that's not in the mainstream gets a great review. so damn annoying.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


great coming of age tale, with some brilliant acting

ok, so it's been done before... a seemingly normal family has plenty of problems beneath the surface, but lymelife is fresh and original in many ways, and is very well done. scott bartlett (wonderfully portrayed by rory culkin) is a long island kid who is pursuing his first big crush, meanwhile his parents are having many problems including infidelity. adrianna is scott's love interest, and her parents are having plenty of problems as well. her father has lyme disease (hence the interesting title) and her mom is cheating with scott's father (alec baldwin). every actor does a very good job in this film, and there are a few funny parts that ease the tension.
it was fun seeing scott get his first love and the struggles of growing up, as it reminded me of my youth. alec baldwin and jill hennessey have a few great "fight" scenes, that seem a bit too real and that's what makes them so great. the film overall is unsettling and kinda depressing, but so well done that i thoroughly enjoyed it.
some of the best scenes featured kieran and rory culkin bickering like brothers... which they obviously are, so they were entertaining as hell.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Tripper

political horror? this may get ugly...

so david arquette decided to make a horror film that is a scathing expose on the right wing conservative movement. we end up with the tripper... which features a serial killer who dresses up like ronald reagan, anti environmentalist loggers setting booby traps, a greedy concert promoter, a jealous right wing ex-boyfriend with a gun, and many more retarded little elements that don't do anything but push the agenda of the film (which i have no problem with btw). all this is supposed to be gripping political fodder... but of course it is not. it's just another slasher film, and some disjointed hippie vs. redneck mayhem thrown in.
the story is simple: group of teens head into the woods for a woodstock style festival with a bunch of hippie people. but there may be a killer on the loose, so the show gets shut down and people still party and die anyways. blah blah blah. seems like any friday the 13th film.
arquette has nothing original to say, and his direction was quite amateurish to say the least. the shots of hippie after hippie getting high was very lame. now there are some good things in the tripper to be sure. including jason mewes as a stoner who gets his hand cut off. his response to this act is, "WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?" and paul reubens is good as the sleezy festival promoter. david arquette has a small role as a redneck, and has top billing in the final credits as it is 'alphabetical'. what a douche.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goodbye Solo

good performances drive this little tale

solo is a senagalese cab driver living in america. he meets an old man named william who offers to pay him $1000 to drive him to a cliff presumably to kill himself. solo wants to understand why, and to stop william at all costs. the two form a unique friendship, as william wants nothing to do with solo, but solo is steadfastly trying to help the old man. the actors are all unknown, and the movie doesn't have a whole lot of visual stimulation. it's mostly just the 2 main characters. but it works very well. solo is great, he's very enjoyable. he is like a loyal friend that will stop at nothing to make sure he takes care of the people he cares about. his step daughte alex also is wonderful. we never truly know why william is so depressed, or the true reason he wants to go to blowing rock. the ending is somewhat ambiguous, but overall the film is pretty much win.

Star Trek: Generations

horrible way to send off the original cast

so this was the first movie with the next generation cast. but in order to "pass the torch" they brought back a few of the original series members in a very lame attempt to include them. only kirk, scottie, and chekov come, and are immediately killed off anyways. the plot is dumb, where malcolm mcdowell is up to some sort of evil bullshit, and it's up to the new crew of the enterprise to stop him. blah. kirk returns in a nexus thing where he teams up with picard and they defeat that evil fucker. dumb, and a horrible way to send captain james t. kirk on his way.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hair High

plymptoons again...

i really like bill plympton's animated films. i enjoy the crazy animation, the cool character designs, and the bizarre visuals he creates. but it does indeed become repetative over time. hair high is one of his more recent films, and i feel like i've seen it before. the story is kinda like grease or cry baby. in a high school obsessed with greasy hair and cool cars, a new kid falls for a girl who is too cool for school. the story doesn't matter much, it's all about bill plympton's art. if you enjoy his movies, this is a no brainer, but i still prefer 'i married a strange person' to anything else.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Is Anybody There?

good payoff

is anybody there? is the story of a kid named edward who's obsessed with death... or at least what happens after we die. he lives with his parents in an old folks home, so he sees people die all the time. clarence, a former magician (played by the awesome michael caine) moves in and eventually befriends young edward. he is a very depressed man who is losing his memory and wants to die because of all the regrets he has, including missing his own wife's funeral. the film is both sad and funny, but mostly a drama. michael caine is great as always, and the kid who plays edward is very convincing. however, for the most part the film doesn't really go anywhere and is pointless. it's all good by the end though. i shed a tear or two even as clarence grew old and senile right before our eyes. i was expecting a twist as there is "magic" involved, but i was happy there was none. the film gives a convincing portrayal of elderly people, and the pain that comes from aging alone. good stuff.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In a Dream

artists... fucking pretentious artists.

i consider myself an artist of sorts... however i don't have illusions of grandeur and self righteousness because i create things. isaiah zager however is obsessed with himself and his art. he is the epitome of why i generally do not like artists. he's an aging hippy who thinks his art (that he's plastered all over philadelphia in the form of mosaic murals) is so amazing that we all should know everything about it. don't get me wrong, his art is often amazing. it is quite repetative and unoriginal however... but that's not really the point. the point is that he creates art because that's what he's passionate about. that's awesome, but he lives in a fantasy world where he is the greatest artist and his legacy will not end.

this documentary starts out as a chronicle about isaiah and his life's work, but sharply turns into a hippy melodrama about him and his wife of 40 years seperating. it's not really interesting because we hardly know these people. he ends up cheating on her because she's not passionate anymore... but it's obvious that he just wants some new pussy! he puts up a facade of being this larger than life artist, but in reality he's just a man like the rest of us. in the film we see isaiah creating art all the time... but come on, how many times do we need to see him mixing colors, transferring clay from wheelbarrow to bucket, and breaking glass? we get it, it consumes him. the documentary was made by his son, and it shows. the kid doesn't know how to structure a good documentary, and is too involved with the cast (they are his family after all). i was bored, disturbed, and apathetic throughout this film.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek

amazing scifi action, and a great new beginning.

i am not a trekkie, or trekker, but i do appreciate the original series quite a bit. shatner, nemoy and deforest kelley were awesome. their chemistry made the series, and the films so great. this new one has a lot of that same chemistry, as well as superb special effects!

this reboot of star trek by jj abrams is awesome. that's a good way to describe a film such as this. the scope and scale are impressive. we see the beginnings of the U.S.S. enterprise, and the life of james t. kirk from birth. the origins and whatnot is very cool. the romulans are good bad guys, especially eric bana. the effects are awesome, way better than any other star trek film. chris pine is great as kirk, and most of the rest of the crew of the enterprise are excellent. john cho is forgettable as mr. sulu however. the story is a little convoluted with the future spock (leonard nemoy is excellent however) and the friendship stuff... but overall it's the best star trek film i've seen, and i hope they make more in the same vain.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


quirky to the maxx

brian is a young man trying to adopt a chinese baby (god knows why), even though he isn't married and doesn't know what he wants out of life. he just knows he wants that damn chinese baby! he meets happy, a girl with no real job and her dad (john goodman) is rich as hell with his own quirks and he is pretty funny at times. he has back problems, and uses racial/ethnic slurs for fun. meanwhile brian's family is a fucking quirkfest as well! ed asner is the dad who is living in the past, and hunts for mushrooms with his sons. blah blah blah, meanwhile brian is battling a possibly imaginary homeless person who's trying to kill him. did i mention he wants to adopt a chinese baby? since he was a kid ffs! strange, sometimes funny, but often pointless.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


great for star wars geeks

i am no longer a star wars fanboy, although i was pretty into it when i was a kid. the characters in fanboys are often hilarious interpretations of these people. fanboys is the story of 4 friends who are on a quest to see episode 1, the phantom menace before anyone else does, back in 1998. there are many star wars jokes to be had, even though many of them fall flat. there seems to be a little too much drama for this kind of movie too. the best parts are with seth rogan, as a trekkie and as a pimp obsessed with star wars! a few other cameos include: danny mcbride, will forte, craig robinson, danny trejo, kevin smith, jason mewes, the donkey fucker from clerks II, carrie fisher, billy dee williams, and of course william shatner! i think actual fans will like this the most, despite its flaws.


unique documentary, especially for its time

salesman is a documentary about travelling bible salesmen, and salesmen in general. the film doesn't have much structure, its just footage of in house sales calls, meetings, and discussions between salesmen. a lot of it is interesting, and a good glimpse into the 60's. boy times have changed a lot. the main character paul the badger is a frustrated salesman who can't seem to get things going for him like in the old days. we see the high pressure situations, the desperate people, and everything in-between. there isn't much positive to take away from this film, other than i'm glad i can buy a bible for 5 bucks at the bookstore now, instead of dealing with these people.

Pierrot le fou

good 60's french cinema

i was lucky enough to see jean-luc goddard's film 'pierrot le fou' on the big screen. the film was similar to other good films from the era, and had a certain element of realism that we don't see in films today. pierot is a normal man who leaves his old life behind to start a life of crime with his new love marianne. the film is quite wierd. there are a few times when the characters look into the camera and talk to us... and even an extra tells us he's an extra. the film has several different tones, but overall its enjoyable. if for nothing else than watching the main characters respond to each unique situation that arises. such as murder, robberies, arson, etc. nothing seems to phase these two who are on their journey to actually live.

Friday, May 1, 2009


bold and artistic

hunger features many scenes that are as breathtaking as masterpiece paintings. the style of this film far exceeds the plot, but its not style over substance... there is plenty of that too. hunger is the story of bobby sands and the IRA hunger strike in northern ireland in 1981. much of the film deals with the conditions of the maze prison, the inmates, the guards, the cells, etc. a big part of the film (nearly 20 minutes!) is a single shot scene involving bobby and a priest discussing the decision to hunger strike. the scene is amazing! 20 minutes, multi tone conversation while smoking cigarettes. very impressive stuff. steve mcqueen (not the dead actor) did an amazing job on his first film. even though there are a few slow parts where we are bogged down in details, such as watching a guard scrub inmate piss out of the hallway for 5 minutes, it flows rather well. it's gritty, dehumanizing/demoralizing, and at times just gross... but overall pretty powerful and artistic.