Music Video Friday: The Pharcyde – Drop 

Today’s video is Drop by The Pharcyde.

I hate Coldplay. Seriously. I’m sorry if you like Coldplay. We can still be friends!😉 But, man, I can’t stand Coldplay.

Spike Jonze has directed loads of great music videos. I don’t think I’ve featured any yet but I could easily spend the rest of this year posting only Spike Jonze videos every Friday. Not sure what my favorite is… I do love Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, Daft Punk’s Da Funk, and Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice. And of course Weezer’s Buddy Holly & Björk’s It’s Oh So Quiet are classics. Drop doesn’t seem to get mentioned as often as his other videos but it’s fantastic and it did the backwards thing long before Chris Martin added his brand of boring to singing backwards in The Scientist.

The video for The Scientist was directed by Jamie Thraves, another great director responsible for videos such as Just by Radiohead (which I posted HERE). Yes, Thraves fully credits Jonze for the backwards idea. The video is good. It’s just, you know, Coldplay. To watch the video means that you have to hear Coldplay. No thank you. I’d far rather watch & listen to The Pharcyde’s Drop.

The Pharcyde had to hire a linguist & learn to sing the lyrics to Drop backwards. Jonze filmed them performing & singing backwards then reversed the footage for the video. I find the original “forwards” clip fascinating and love that it sounds totally satanic. “Paul is dead! Paul is dead!”

You can see the original clip as well as a short “making of” documentary here: musicismysanctuary.com. You can also see the official video at that link as well. (Actually, watch the video at that link instead of the below YouTube clip as I could only find a low quality version or a good quality one that cuts off the ending. But I’ll still include it anyway… Here you go!)

My Top Ten DJs/Disc Jockeys In Movies

I’ve always loved disc jockeys in movies. There should be more movies featuring DJs! Well, there probably are – I’m sure I’ve missed some on this list.

I first thought about doing this list after watching the “meh” movie We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron as an EDM DJ. But I never got around to doing it. Then I thought about it again after watching Clint Eastwood as a DJ with a stalker in Play Misty For Me. But I still didn’t do the list. Well, I noticed that today would’ve been Robin Williams’ birthday so I figured I’d finally post this list as he was so great as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. (R.I.P. Robin Williams)😦

This list is a mix of real & fictional DJs. The order is, hmm… Roughly based on how “cool” I think the DJ character is (but don’t take the order too seriously). There are also a lot of movies I haven’t seen so I’ve listed a few at the end.

Here are My Top Ten DJs In Movies:

10. Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne in The Fog

9. Wolfman Jack as the DJ in American
Graffiti
& The Midnight Hour


8. George Clinton & Martin Lawrence as DJs in House Party

7. Steven Wright as DJ K-Billy, host of Super Sounds Of The ’70s in Reservoir Dogs

6. Clint Eastwood as Dave Garver in Play Misty For Me

5. Cleavon Little as Super Soul in Vanishing Point

4. Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam

3. Daft Punk as “Masked DJs” in TRON: Legacy

2. Lynne Thigpen as the DJ in The Warriors

1. Christian Slater as Hard Harry in Pump Up The Volume

Honorable Mentions:

– Howard Stern as himself in Private Parts
– Samuel L. Jackson as Mister Señor Love Daddy in Do The Right Thing
– Zac Efron as Cole in We Are Your Friends
– Skrillex as the DJ in Wreck-It Ralph (I had no idea he was in this until I started looking up movies I may have missed for this list. Cute! Here he is):

Movies Not On The List Because I Need To Re-Watch Them:

– The Truth About Cats & Dogs
– Trick Or Treat
– Airheads

Movies Not On The List Because I Haven’t Seen Them:

– Pontypool (really want to see this)
– Pirate Radio (aka The Boat That Rocked)
– Talk To Me
– Talk Radio
– FM

I’ll leave you with a clip from The Warriors. If you haven’t seen either this or Pump Up The Volume, I highly recommend them as they’re both absolute favorites of mine.

Circle (2015) Review

Circle (2015)

Directed & Written by Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione

Starring: Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters, Julie Benz, Mercy Malick, Lisa Pelikan, Cesar Garcia

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Fifty people wake up in a darkened room, only to find that one of them is killed every two minutes or when they attempt to leave. When they realize that they can control which person is selected to die, blocs emerge based on personal values.

My Opinion:

This movie was a pleasant surprise! Circle has stuck around on Netflix for a while & I’ve seen a couple bloggers give it okay reviews but I’ve watched too many obscure Netflix movies that bloggers have liked & I’ve ended up extremely disappointed (Blue Ruin, Housebound, etc…). So I wasn’t sure I wanted to give this one a chance as it looked like it would be yet another terrible low budget movie that was never widely released in cinemas and that hardly anyone has heard of for good reason.

Well, I’m glad I decided to watch Circle. I found the story fascinating & liked the simple way it was presented. It IS yet another obscure movie on Netflix with what appears to be a very small budget. However, the story makes it a totally worthwhile watch. In fact, I think the low budget helps this film as there’s no need for distracting special effects when you have such a strong story idea. Someone is killed every two minutes – it doesn’t get much more tense than that! FYI: this is labelled at IMDb as “Drama, Horror, Mystery”. Don’t let the “horror” thing turn you off as I really wouldn’t label it that. There’s no blood or gore whatsoever. “Psychological sci-fi thriller” would be a better description. I almost didn’t watch this partly because I thought it was more of a horror film.

I won’t lie – this movie isn’t for everyone and some will hate it. It’s my sort of thing: A strong story that gets you thinking of the morality issues involved and how you would react in a similar situation. It feels like you’re watching a play as it all takes place in the strange dark room in the above poster. Each person isn’t allowed to move from their red circle on the floor – all they can do is talk to each other & try to figure out what’s going on and how to survive. Many issues are discussed such as: race, age, career, family, lifestyle, and what makes a person “good” & worthy of being kept alive as they all soon figure out that they’re able to control who the next person to die will be. Ultimately, they realize that it’s more a case of deciding who amongst them should be allowed to survive until the end.

If you like the sound of this story, give the movie a shot. Plus, it’s really short! (1 hour 27 minutes). I didn’t realize that when I had a bit of alone time one day & put it on figuring  I’d watch half a movie. But, hey – I managed to watch the whole thing just before the family got home! (You appreciate little things like this as a parent).😉 Just don’t expect much character development or explanations as to what’s going on. With such a short running time & the fact that they had to get through 50 characters in under an hour & a half, I think the movie did a good job with this simple yet thought-provoking concept. We get right into the action from the start & these people figure things out far faster than seems possible but it was nice to have a film move along so fast and not waste our time with anything unnecessary. The story is the star here so if you buy into that and aren’t expecting explosions, fancy special effects, or Oscar-calibre acting, you may find this as entertaining as I did. I can easily say that I wasn’t bored for one second. Now I suppose I should finally watch Coherence as it’s another obscure Netflix movie I’ve been avoiding for ages that has been praised by fellow bloggers. Hmm…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Miracle Mile (1988) Review

I noticed that Anthony Edwards turns 54 today. Happy Birthday, Goose! And Mark Greene! (Remember the good days of ER??). Well, I figured I might as well reblog my review of his little-known film Miracle Mile. I really liked this one & was shocked to get a big response from fellow bloggers who are also fond of this apocalyptic movie from 1988 (that I’d never even heard of before watching it last year).:-)

Cinema Parrot Disco

IMG_9237

Miracle Mile (1988)

Directed by Steve De Jarnatt

Starring:
Anthony Edwards
Mare Winningham
Denise Crosby
Mykelti Williamson
Kurt Fuller

Music by Tangerine Dream

Running time: 87 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young man hears a chance phone call telling him that a nuclear war has started and missiles will hit his city in 70 minutes.

IMG_0385

My Opinion:

What’s this? An apocalyptic movie from my beloved 1980s with a Tangerine Dream score yet I’d not even HEARD of it let alone ever seen it?! How is this possible?!?! Well, I think UK Netflix is finally getting better as they’re starting to stick some slightly obscure 80s films on there, which is exactly what I want! I’m always on the lookout for lesser known movies from the 80s (and 70s) and Netflix has surprised me twice in the past month with this and then with one I…

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Tiny Sticky Note Nightmares By John Kenn Mortensen

Meant to post this the other week when I saw these images… Love them! This guy, John Kenn Mortensen, does amazing illustrations on Post-It Notes. And they’re creepy as hell! You can view the article with more drawings here: Neatorama.

There are also even more of his illustrations along with a great video collage here: Dangerousminds. Finally, he has his own blog where he posts all his drawings here: Blogspot. He writes & directs TV shows for kids. Yikes! They must look nothing like Sesame Street.:-)

Music Video Friday: Joan Jett – Bad Reputation 

Today’s video is Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation. Why? Because I’m finally watching Freaks And Geeks & this song has been stuck in my head for weeks since it’s the show’s theme tune.

I love Freaks And Geeks! Not sure why I missed out on it at the time as it’s a very “me” show. Set in an early 80s high school with an awesome soundtrack! Think I just had a lot going on at the time & wasn’t really watching TV. Plus I can’t say I’ve totally loved everything from most of the show’s stars & creators since, so I was never in a rush to check it out. I was wrong! If you happen to not like Paul Feig, Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, James Franco, etc… Don’t let that put you off! Freaks And Geeks is great. (It’s on Amazon Prime in the UK, FYI)

So, onto Joan Jett. I like Joan Jett but admit that I’ve never really explored her music much beyond I Love ‘N’ Roll. I actually became a little more interested in her after seeing The Runaways. I still cannot believe that I like a film starring Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning… But I do! I loved it. I really should buy that one. Hey, I seriously recommend both Freaks And Geeks AND The Runaways even if you don’t like the people involved!

I never actually saw the video for Bad Reputation until now. When looking it up, I noticed that it was directed by David Mallet. Mallet has directed loads of famous music videos (including two I’ve featured previously for Music Video Friday: David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes & Billy Idol’s White Wedding). I like how this video features various record labels all rejecting Joan Jett. I’m not sure why Bad Reputation didn’t make it as big as I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll as I think Bad Reputation is the better song. Odd. It looks like Freaks And Geeks has helped the song, though, as it has been featured in loads of things since the show used it.

Here’s the video if, like me, you’d never seen it before now. Enjoy. And have a great weekend!:-)

My Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies

Happy Birthday to Harry Dean Stanton, who turns 90 today! Wow – I can’t believe he’s 90. Such a great actor who has been in so many awesome films. Stanton has quite of an impressive résumé & doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves.

As always, I’m ranking these according to how much I like the movie as opposed to the character (if going by character, Seven Psychopaths would be much higher – loved his character in that). So, counting down to my favorite movie (a movie that NOTHING tops), here are My Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies:

10. The Straight Story

9. Avengers Assemble

8. Seven Psychopaths

7. Repo Man

6. Cool Hand Luke

5. Pretty In Pink

4. The Green Mile

3. The Godfather: Part II

2. Escape From New York

1. Alien

Honorable Mentions:
Dream A Little Dream
The Mighty
Christine
Red Dawn

Okay – he’s been in a few other big movies that I haven’t seen. I have yet to see…:
Paris, Texas
The Last Temptation Of Christ
Wild At Heart
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

My Ten Most-Hated Movies Since Starting This Blog

Since starting this blog at the end of November 2012, I’ve watched a lot of fantastic movies. This is partly because 1) I think I make more of an effort to watch good or, at least, “interesting” movies since I’m now writing about them and 2) projects such as my IMDB Top 250 Challenge have forced me to finally get around to watching some highly regarded classics. I’ve also been enjoying my 2016 Blind Spot choices so far so I’ll probably keep that going each year for however long this blog continues.

But it’s not all been good! I’ve also watched far more crap than ever before. My husband is partly to blame for this as he’s always like “Don’t watch so and so good movie without me!” but then he never actually watches any movies with me at home & I’m stuck watching something shitty by myself so he doesn’t moan at me watching something good without him. Marriage. Gotta love it. October is also to blame as I feel the need to review horror movies all month long so I end up watching whatever horrors happen to be on the services available to me & they end up being shit 90% of the time.

Anyway, as I’m in a bad mood & have nothing else ready to post for today, I thought I’d do a list of the ten movies I’ve hated the most of all the ones I’ve watched for the very first time in these last four years of “blog life”. Speaking of blogdom, I’m down on that lately too. Is it just me? I think the blog thing is dying off. Sad. Oh well – I’m still gonna shoot the shit about movies here for a little while longer, even if I’m only talking to myself.😉

Oh, I should add that I’m excluding the movies I watched for Eric’s (in)famous Shitfest at The IPC as the whole point of Shitfest is to watch the worst movies possible. Clearly, these movies were worse than most on my following list. So here’s a quick list of links to my Shitfest reviews. I don’t hold you responsible for making me watch these atrocities, Eric! Well, maybe a little.😉

The Hottie & The Nottie
Children Of The Living Dead
Moshi Monsters: The Movie
Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus
Alone In The Dark (as part of a Shitfest Social where a bunch of us bloggers watched this movie at the same time while trashing it in the comments at that link. Good times! I miss those days.):-)

So, now, here are the Ten Movies I’ve HATED THE MOST!!!! (counting down to the very worst):

10. Blue Ruin

9. The To Do List

8. Trance

7. Oz The Great And Powerful

6. Slumdog Millionaire

5. Mary And Max

4. Into The Woods

3. The Victim

2. Repo! The Genetic Opera

1. Love

Wow – have I really reviewed every single one of these movies other than Love?? Clearly I take the time for reviewing movies when they piss me off. HA! I do love to have a good bitchfest sometimes. Wait until I go to town on Love! I hated the FUCK out of that one (and there was lots of fucking to be hated).

(Dis)Honorable Mentions:
ATM
Red Dawn (2012)
Used Cars
The Boxtrolls
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Lockout
Factotum

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Book Review)

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals… a used hangman’s noose… a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest purchase, an item he discovered on the Internet:

I will sell my stepfather’s ghost to the highest bidder…

For a thousand dollars, Jude has become the owner of a dead man’s suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. Suddenly the suit’s previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door… seated in Jude’s restored Mustang… staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand…

My Thoughts:

This book got third place in my poll asking which book I should read next (I reviewed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere HERE & Terry Pratchett’s The Colour Of Magic HERE).

This is now the third Joe Hill book I’ve read and I’d say I’m definitely a fan & will continue to read all of his books. I love the sound of his book The Fireman – that’ll be going on my Christmas list this year (hint hint, hubby?). I’d have to say that both NOS4A2 & Horns are better than Heart-Shaped Box (I reviewed both of those books HERE) but this one was still an enjoyable read and I liked it more than NOS4A2.

The thing that worked for me the most was probably the fact that its main character is an aging metal dude. I love metal & I love metal DUDES! I think, deep down, I want to be one. In my next life, maybe I’ll be the next Ozzy Osbourne or something. There were some fun rock references thrown into the book here & there but it could’ve done with more of these. Judas Coyne is a great name for the character & Hill does well to make him a believeable old metal guy. I mean, he’s kind of a dick at first but that’s what you’d expect. This book didn’t have the same problem as NOS4A2, though, in that I didn’t really like or care about the characters very much in that one. This is a shorter book with a far more simple ghost story but I think that helped to give us more time to get to know Coyne, which is why I enjoyed this book more as I love good character development. The story is obviously important but, if it gives me characters I don’t care about, it then feels like a waste of my time.

As far as being scary, I can’t say that this one creeped me out but it’s rare that a book really does that to me anyway. It started out good but I found it less scary as the book went on. I think there was a bit too much of the ghost plus he was more creepy and mysterious at the beginning when we knew less about him. I don’t have any big complaints about the book but there was one element in the story that I would’ve liked left out. I found the conclusion okay, though, so that was good as I find that a lot of horror stories don’t seem to know how to end.

Heart-Shaped Box did take a while to get going & at one point early on I wondered how Hill would fill a whole book with a basic “haunting”. I liked the direction the story later took, though, and I finished the second half of the book very quickly as I was eager to know what would happen. It’s just a shame that the second half of the book, which was more “exciting”, didn’t manage to also maintain the same sort of eeriness we had in the first part of the book.

I do think Hill stands on his own as a very good modern horror author but he will always be compared to his father and I’m sure he knows that & is used to it by now. I have to say that I’ve enjoyed his books so far but none have quite lived up to Stephen King’s books for me. I have yet to find the worlds created by Hill as fully immersive as those in his father’s books but I’d say that of most authors anyway so it’s unfortunate that he’ll always be compared to King. Compared to authors other than King, Hill is a new favorite of mine. One of these days, I’ll really love one of his books. I know it! I look forward to reading The Fireman to see if it’s the one. For now, I’m happy to just casually date his books. No being invited in “for coffee” yet!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Red Dawn (2012), People Like Us & We’re The Millers Movie Reviews

Here’s another trio of super short reviews of movies that I watched two years ago & barely remember now! What’s the point, you ask? Well, it’s annoying me that they’re still sitting HERE on my list of Movies Watched In 2014 without reviews attached to them. So, let’s get this over with. One paragraph each! Don’t expect any in-depth analysis. Not that you ever get that from this blog anyway…😉

IMG_9872

Red Dawn (2012)

Directed by Dan Bradley

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.

My Opinion:

Wow. It’s bad enough that so many pointless remakes keep getting made but it’s especially frustrating when they’re complete & utter shit like this Red Dawn remake. Don’t worry – I’m not going to be all “They shouldn’t have touched Red Dawn because the original is a classic!” since that was never an absolute favorite of mine & I’m not all precious about it like I am with a lot of other 80’s movies. But why take a mediocre movie & remake it into something 1,000 times worse?? Oh well! I only watched this because sexy Chris Hemsworth is in it (with his short hair – I prefer him that way). I don’t remember now who lives & who dies but I do remember completely losing interest and not giving a shit about any of the characters. I also remember that I watched this just after getting Netflix & they seemed to have a horrible selection back then (it’s much better now) so I wasted too much time on shit like this & that stupid ATM movie. Speaking of which, that weird little Josh Peck was in that one as well. He had a really bad year for movies between Red Dawn & ATM! Screw Red Dawn. Screw ATM. You know what Josh Peck movie was actually pretty good? Mean Creek. Just watch that instead. Don’t watch this. Not even for short hair Chris Hemsworth. He looks the same in The Cabin In The Woods & that’s much better. Do a double feature of Mean Creek & The Cabin In The Woods! Don’t watch Red Dawn.

My Rating: 3.5/10

People Like Us (2012)

Directed by Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Michelle Pfeiffer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
While settling his recently deceased father’s estate, a salesman discovers he has a sister whom he never knew about, leading both siblings to re-examine their perceptions about family and life choices.

My Opinion:

This was a decent movie – I’m not sure why I never reviewed it. Movies about family relationships don’t always appeal to me but this one, where Chris Pine finds out that he has a half-sister & nephew he never knew about, worked pretty well. I can’t stand Chris Pine but really like Elizabeth Banks plus the boy who played her son (Michael Hall D’Addario) was good so that helped. Oh! And Michelle Pfeiffer was in this too as Pine’s mother – love her. It was partly based on the life of the director, who first met his half-sister at the age of 30, so it probably also helped that the script was based on personal experience. I also liked this little bit of trivia HERE about the music memorabilia of Pine’s musician father in the film belonging to the record producer father of one of the script’s writers:

Much of the music business memorabilia in the “Jerry’s Study” set belongs to Jody Lambert’s father Dennis Lambert, a Songwriter’s Hall of Fame nominee whose hits as writer and/or producer include “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)”, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Baby Come Back” and “Nightshift”.

Anyway, People Like Us isn’t going to change the world but it’s the type of movie that’s perfect to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Good performances from those involved & I liked the story.

My Rating: 6.5/10

We’re The Millers (2013)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Ed Helms

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.

My Opinion:

This movie is really not my type of thing and I don’t know why I watched it. I think I just wanted a simple movie on while I did stuff around the house plus I think I still kind of live in the hope that a modern comedy may actually turn out to be funny. Nope! This is yet another stupid modern “comedy” that failed to make me even crack a smile. Maybe I’m just old & bitter since I’ve liked hardly any comedy films since 1992? Comedy isn’t my favorite genre but I think the fact that so few movies are ever actually funny anymore is to blame for me going off the genre in recent years. Wait! I may have cracked a tiny smile when Will Poulter’s balls were bitten by a spider & they swelled up to an unnatural size while the movie showed us his whole package in gory detail. That was brave of Poulter as I’m sure a lot of people think “spider balls!” anytime they seen him in anything now. Although, I’m pretty sure we were seeing stunt balls. How does one get a job as a stunt penis? Anyway, maybe this movie wasn’t crude enough for me if that’s the only memorable part for me. I mean, I do like the Jackass movies & Bad Grandpa so, what the hell, I can’t figure out my taste in comedy. But I thought We’re The Millers was shit. Except for spider balls being mildly funny…

My Rating: 4/10

Music Video Friday: Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You

Today’s video is Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You, which is not my sort of thing AT ALL. Anyone who knows me probably thought they were on the wrong blog for a second there…

Oh well! Tomorrow is Tom Hanks’ 60th birthday & yesterday I did a list of My Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies so it made sense to post this video for Music Video Friday since he (bizarrely) stars in it. I guess it’s a catchy pop tune if you like that sort of thing. My kid likes this song. That’s okay, though, since she also loves David Bowie.😉

Here you go! Tom Hanks in a music video! Unfortunately, Justin Bieber is in it as well. I sincerely apologize for that…

My Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies

Happy Birthday (soon) to Tom Hanks, who turns 60 on Saturday. Who doesn’t like Tom Hanks?! Evil people, that’s who!😉

Here are My Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies, counting down to my favorite. There are still a lot I’ve not seen! But a lot that I have, as he’s been in so many films. So I’ve ranked all 26 that I’ve seen

Top 26:

26. The Polar Express
25. Angels & Demons
24. Bachelor Party
23. That Thing You Do!
22. You’ve Got Mail
21. Captain Phillips
20. The Da Vinci Code
19. The Simpsons Movie
18. The Terminal
17. Turner & Hooch
16. The Money Pit
15. Saving Private Ryan
14. Philadelphia
13. A League Of Their Own
12. Apollo 13
11. Road To Perdition

Top Ten:

10. Forrest Gump

9. Cast Away

8. Sleepless In Seattle

7. The ‘Burbs

6. Splash

5. Joe Versus The Volcano

4. The Green Mile

3. Catch Me If You Can

2. Big

1. The Toy Story Films

Happy Birthday, Tom Hanks! I still think it’s awesome that you posed for this picture with the drunk guy who had passed out…:-)

My Blog’s June 2016 Recap

Happy Independence Day to my American followers! I suggest you all celebrate by not going to see Independence Day: Resurgence. (Because it’s meant to suck):-) Well, it’s now July so here’s a quick recap of the stuff I posted in June.

It would’ve been Adrienne Shelly’s 50th birthday on the 24th of June so I decided to review five of her movies that week. I adored her film Waitress (for which she was the writer, director & co-star) so had been meaning to check out some of her previous acting work. It was great to see her in other roles but Waitress remains my favorite. She was clearly a very talented filmmaker & it’s a shame we’ll never get to see what else she would have made. The links to my five Adrienne Shelly movie reviews are all below.

Other than that, I had a pretty lazy blog month & plan to cut back even more in July. I did at least manage another Blind Spot movie review (for THX 1138). I still had a few fun posts that got some comments, though, and I was very surprised to see what became my most popular post…

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: Sweet Valley High Covers Artist Takes Commissions. Wow! I didn’t expect the response that I got on this post. I guess I’m not the only pre/early teen girl who read this series in the 80s! I loved reminiscing over the books’ cover art & even got a couple of comments from another artist who worked on the cover art for the later books in the series. Very cool!

My Favorite Post: My review of Waitress & my list of My Top Ten Video Game Movies were probably my favorites this month. And the Sweet Valley High post, of course.

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: It was a tie view-wise between Waitress & Warcraft: The Beginning. Huh – You can’t really get two movies that are more different!

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
Waitress
THX 1138
The Unbelievable Truth
The Dead Pool
Warcraft: The Beginning
Trust
Heavy Metal Parking Lot
Money Monster
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case
Sleeping With Strangers
Factotum

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
Warcraft: The Beginning
Money Monster
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Paul
Dope
Sleeping With Strangers
San Andreas
Factotum

TOP TEN LISTS

Top Ten Clint Eastwood Movies
Top Ten Video Game Movies
Top Ten Movie Presidents

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “Gorillaz videos“. Well, that makes sense as I’ve posted Gorillaz videos in posts for my Clint Eastwood Week & in my review of the Tank Girl comic. Love Gorillaz! Great music.

My Favorite Search Term: Most definitely “carrot blow job scene“! And, yes, I know why that search led to my blog. I’m so proud. That’ll be thanks to My Top Ten Movie Fruits & Vegetables list & the scene in question is from Fast Times At Ridgemont High starring the lovely Jennifer Jason Leigh.

I’m also happy that someone searched for the movie D.A.R.Y.L. Cheesy 80’s goodness!:-)

Here are my top search terms for the month:


BOOKS

Book Reviewed: The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Book I’ve Just Finished: The Death Cure by James Dashner

Book I’m Currently Reading: The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J Walker

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Oh my god that baby polar bear is adorable! Anyway, I don’t really have any blog plans for July. My plan is to “chill”. I’m tired. I’ll do some lazy Top Tens & reviews of movies I go to see. Other than that, I’ll post stuff only if I’m in the mood. Maybe summer will finally come to the U.K. this month?!?! Fingers crossed! If the sun is actually shining, you’ll be seeing less of me here.:-)

Upcoming Movies:

Finding Dory!!!! I’m so annoyed at the long wait for this one in the U.K. (it comes out on July 29th). I’m a massive Pixar fan & desperate to see it! Other than that, I’m very curious about The Neon Demon but plan to avoid the new Ghostbusters movie like the plague. Oh yeah – I almost forgot that Star Trek Beyond is out in July (I’m actually not impressed by the trailer) and The BFG looks like it could be a bit of family fun. At home, I seriously need to catch up on watching my Blind Spot movies & haven’t yet watched the one I’m hoping to review in July (Battle Royale).

Let’s see… I always end these with a music clip related to something I posted or watched. Well, I finally watched Dope last week after badly wanting to see it for ages. I’m sorry to say that I found the movie to be a huge disappointment. However, the soundtrack kicked ass! Here’s Juice (Know the Ledge) by Eric B. & Rakim:

Music Video Friday: Robyn – Konichiwa Bitches

Today’s video is Konichiwa Bitches by Robyn.

I won’t pretend to know much about Swedish singer Robyn (real name Robin Miriam Carlsson) but I loved her 2005 self-titled album.

The best song (and my favorite) was Robyn & Kleerup’s amazing With Every Heartbeat. I’ll never get sick of that one! Well, I haven’t gotten sick of any songs from this album – they’re all still knocking around on my iPod. My next two favorites are Cobrastyle & Konichiwa Bitches but Handle Me, Dancing On My Own & Be Mine are also fantastic pop songs.

I’ve chosen Konichiwa Bitches because I’ve always liked its attitude (plus it’s an awesome title for a song). The lyrics are a bit filthy so it’s not 100% “Safe For Work” but it’s all tongue-in-cheek & not extremely blatant like a song by Peaches or something. I remember seeing Robyn on Never Mind The Buzzcocks years ago talking about her cage fighter boyfriend & wishing I was as cool as she seems to be. I don’t know how famous she is in Sweden but this album was so damn good she should’ve made it bigger in other countries. Not sure which lyrics are my favorite from this song but I do like this bit where I think she’s singing about her boobs:

“Don’t even get me started on my bada-boom-booms. One left, one right – that’s how I organize ’em. You know I fill my cups no need to supersize ’em”.

Ha! I love this crazy song. Have a listen (and definitely check out her other songs at my above links as well if you don’t know her stuff).:-)

My Top Ten Movie Presidents 

In celebration of the release of Independence Day: Resurgence and Elvis & Nixon, I figured I’d do a list of My Top Ten Presidents In Movies. Which is a bit stupid since I’ve not seen either of these movies.😉 I had planned to go to the Independence Day sequel on Tuesday & then do this list but, after the REALLY BAD reviews for it, I decided I couldn’t be bothered. So I watched an equally bad movie at home instead! (San Andreas… Hilarious!)

Anyway, I’ll shut up & just get on with the list. It’s a mix of real & fictional presidents. As always, they’re only on the list if I’ve actually seen the movie. So here are My Top Ten Movie Presidents (roughly ranked according to how much I like the character. kind of. sort of.):

10. Edward Herrmann as Franklin D. Roosevelt in Annie (1982)

9. James Adomian as George W. Bush in Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

8. Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln in The Lego Movie

7. Jack Nicholson as President James Dale in Mars Attacks!

6. Terry Crews as President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in Idiocracy

5. Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove

4. Donald Pleasence as the President of the United States in Escape From New York

3. Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck in Deep Impact

2. Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt in the Night At The Museum movies

1. Robert V. Barron as Abraham Lincoln in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Honorable Mentions:

The presidents in…

The Simpsons Movie
Dave
Independence Day
Air Force One
Big Game
Frost/Nixon
Back To The Future Part II
Beavis & Butt-Head Do America

A Few I’ve Not Seen:

Elvis & Nixon
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Lincoln
Primary Colors
The American President
Olympus & London Has Fallen

THX 1138 (1971) Blind Spot Review

THX 1138 (1971)

Directed by George Lucas

Starring: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
THX 1138 stars Donald Pleasence and Robert Duvall and depicts a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including outlawed sexual desire.

My Opinion:

Here’s a quick list of links to my 2016 Blind Spot Reviews so far, including where I’d rank THX 1138:

6. An Education – 7/10
5. Summer Wars – 7/10
4. True Romance – 7/10
3. THX 1138 – 7.5/10
2. Play Misty For Me – 7.5/10
1. Natural Born Killers – 8/10

First of all, I have to point out that I’m going to be reviewing this in an odd way. I’ve unfortunately only seen the Director’s Cut of THX 1138 as it’s the only version I have. I’m a bit of a snobby purist (even little things like replacing the guns with walkie talkies in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial pisses me off) so knowing that an original, minimalist, un-fucked-with version of THX 1138 exists and that it appears not at all easy to get a copy of seriously annoys me.

So I’m reviewing & rating this movie as if I’ve seen the original version as I can see that there’s a very good dystopian sci-fi film here hiding underneath a bunch of added & completely unnecessary digital bullshit. I know it’s a weird way to do this as I haven’t even seen the original so I can’t be as annoyed as I am with the stupid changes Lucas made to the original Star Wars trilogy (WHY, George Lucas? Why?!?!?) but I’ve looked into the changes that’ve been made & seen images from the original version so I have an idea of what it was like beforehand. There’s a really good comparison between the two versions along with images HERE at movie-censorship.com if you’re interested. For example:


The first image is from the original film. Lucas seems to be a big fan of “extending hallways, etc, and adding more people”. Many of the THX 1138 changes involve making an area look much larger and to have it filled with more things & more people. Why? I honestly don’t see the point. The thing I liked most about this film was its striking imagery, especially the stark white of the majority of the scenes in the beginning of the film. It was quite beautiful in its minimalist approach & this artistic vision is undone every time a very obviously altered scene crops up. A lot of the rather drab gray shots of the factory in the beginning are also replaced with completely new shots of a large & busy factory with a sort of golden hue instead. It’s a dystopian sci-fi film – the “drab” shots of the factory made more sense! Surely George Lucas is missing the entire point of his own film by making visual changes that work against its themes?


Okay – that’s ALL I’ll say about the Director’s Cut & its changes. I promise! I now just want to talk about this movie. The sci-fi dystopian (and/or sci-fi post-apocalyptic) genre is and always will be my absolute favorite above all others, which is why I put this movie on my Blind Spot list as I felt it was a huge gap in my knowledge of these sorts of films. And I did really like it, although it’s a hard one to actually recommend to others who aren’t die hard fans of the genre. If you don’t love this genre, you’re very unlikely to enjoy this movie. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not a bit of a struggle to sit through. It’s very slow, especially in the first half. I do love the story but, yes, it’s one that has been done in loads of “dystopian future” novels & films. No, I wouldn’t say it necessarily brings anything all that new to the table in terms of its themes but you have to remember the fact that it was released in 1971 and does actually feel ahead of its time. We’re just used to movies like these now as there have been a lot of similar ones since but THX 1138 deserves more recognition than it seems to have received. Visually, I think it has dated very well (and I do mean the original version) unlike some other sci-fi films of its time and the lower budget, minimalist look really is to thank for this.

I’ll be honest & admit that this is one of those films that I appreciate but that I like the “thought” of it more than the actual film itself. It’s a lovely work of art. I’m a sucker for great imagery & would happily stick a poster of an image from this film up on the wall of my cinema room (if I was rich and actually had a cinema room… that would be cool). I have very similar feelings about several other films I’ve watched since starting this blog: The Man Who Fell To Earth, Rollerball, Under The Skin, and Daft Punk’s Electroma. These are my favorite sort of movies & I loved them all (well, Rollerball was a bit weak & didn’t age as well) but plenty of people would sadly yet understandably find these films just plain unwatchable. Yep, THX 1138 is a struggle and I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I fell asleep the first time I attempted to watch it. But I still ultimately find this sort of movie far more rewarding than most of the crap that gets made nowadays. I’d say that they’d never allow this sort of movie to be made now but things like Under The Skin & Ex Machina (which actually IS very good & totally watchable, FYI) prove that theory wrong. I’m glad that artistic movies like these which won’t please a mainstream audience or rake in loads of blockbuster money are still sometimes given a chance. THX 1138 easily fits alongside other visionary sci-fi classics and still feels relevant 45 years later. It really didn’t need to be messed with…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Money Monster (2016) Review

Money Monster (2016)

Directed by Jodie Foster

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito, Caitriona Balfe

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars George Clooney as Lee Gates, a TV personality who advises his audience on commerce and Wall Street, and who is forcefully interrogated by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), a grief-stricken bankrupt viewer who lost his money after a previous tip.

My Opinion:

I chose to go to this movie in this way: “Eeny meeny miny… Oh, Money Monster has a much shorter running time than X-Men: Apocalypse or The Nice Guys so let’s just watch that one”. Money Monster is a decent enough film but it’s one of those that you know most people won’t bother to make a trip to the cinema to see. It’s a home-watcher. I enjoyed it even though it’s a bit formulaic & predictable but, hell, most movies are. If you like any of its stars or want to see a Jodie Foster film (I thought she’d directed far more movies than she actually has!), you’d probably like this one just fine.

This movie (its basic plot, at least) reminded me a lot of Man On A Ledge & I did keep thinking of that movie thoughout this one. I remember really looking forward to that film as it had a great concept but it ended up being a stupid, silly mess. Luckily, Money Monster is much better than Man On A Ledge so don’t worry about my comparison! It has much better writing & acting plus situations that aren’t as ridiculously far fetched.

Unfortunately, it does fall apart at the end after a pretty promising start. It’s one of those films where the “surprise” of what’s “really going on” isn’t a surprise in the slightest, which was a little disappointing as I wanted it to be something more than just “Oh, that’s it? Well that was obvious from the start”. I think it also fails to get its message across (if it even has a message?). I suppose the message of sorts is just about how big business/money always screws over the little guy but we all know that’s a fact of life anyway. This movie could’ve provided a good commentary on that but instead just turns into a pretty straightforward good guy vs bad guy hostage drama. I’d have to say that at least The Big Short made this same sort of point in a much more effective way & had a message (I actually hated that movie, though. Snoozefest!). Money Monster takes the path of “entertaining movie” more than “thought-provoking drama”. But there’s of course nothing wrong with a movie being entertaining – I just wish Money Monster had dug a bit deeper to be a little something more.

A quick mention of the film’s stars: Clooney’s role has his name written ALL over it – I would imagine he was the exact person they had in mind for the role even as it was being written. So, yeah, that works but his performance can’t help but feel a bit phoned-in because of it. I’d have to say that Julia Roberts actually does a better job here (and that’s being said by someone who really isn’t one of her fans). This is the perfect sort of role for her these days, though, and I’d even possibly go so far as to say she’s the best one in this. I know there’s been a lot of positive buzz around Jack O’Connell after Starred Up & ’71 (both of which I’ve not seen) and he’s decent enough in this but I think that his character lets him down as the movie fails to make him as sympathetic as I think it had intended.   Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito & especially Caitriona Balfe all did a good job and some of the smaller characters were pretty well-written and provided tiny bits of comic relief, even down to the cameraman who has to stay to film the whole thing while George Clooney has a bomb strapped to him.

I’d recommend Money Monster to anyone who thinks they’d enjoy it. As long as you don’t expect anything too deep, you’ll probably like it okay. I think it has slipped under the radar, which is kind of a shame as there aren’t a whole lot of similar films currently being made. I think Jodie Foster did a decent job with this one & should do more directing.

My Rating: 7/10

Waitress (2007) Review

Today I’m reviewing Adrienne Shelly’s fantastic film Waitress. This would’ve been Shelly’s 50th birthday so I’ve been reviewing some of her movies this week. I started by reviewing her Hal Hartley films The Unbelievable Truth & Trust (HERE) & yesterday reviewed the films Sleeping With Strangers & Factotum (HERE). I think Waitress is the best of her films that I’ve seen. She did an excellent job as writer, director & co-star and I think she’d have gone on to make many more great films if she’d had the chance. Let’s talk about Waitress!

Waitress (2007)

Directed & Written by Adrienne Shelly

Starring: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Adrienne Shelly

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She meets a newcomer to her town and falls into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’m not one of these girly girls who goes for a lot of “chick flicks”. I do like some movies that are aimed mainly at women but, for me to like these types of movies, they have to be good. I don’t like dumb comedy or sappy romance and would run screaming from the crap that people like Kate Hudson star in. Waitress isn’t one of those types of movies. I hesitated to even use the words “chick flicks” above due to the negative connotations but, yes, I’d say this movie is certainly aimed at females. However, I think plenty of men would be far happier to watch this with their wives/girlfriends than, say, Pretty Woman or something. So don’t write this one off as just some “chick flick” as it’s better than that term implies.

However, I fully admit that this film won’t work for everyone. I wasn’t really planning on ever even reviewing it until I decided that I’d check out more of director/writer/co-star Adrienne Shelly’s previous acting work after really liking what she did with Waitress.

I can’t explain it exactly but I wanted to keep this movie to myself. I think most of us movie bloggers have some movies that just “speak” to us for whatever reason and Waitress is one of those films for me. I just get it. It works perfectly for me. Not everyone will have the same reaction to it & I know it probably helped that, when I first saw it, I was also pregnant like Keri Russell’s character. Although I wasn’t in the same circumstances whatsoever (her pregnancy is very much unplanned and her husband is an abusive asshole), I liked that this movie wasn’t all “Yay! Being pregnant is the greatest and most beautiful thing in the world!” and that it didn’t rely on dumb pregnancy/baby humor like so many “chick flicks/romcoms” often do. Russell’s character isn’t mean about her pregnancy or anything like that – she’s just kind of numb & goes through the motions during her pregnancy as she knows she doesn’t really have any other option. Although I couldn’t relate to the exact same feelings, I loved the honesty and the fact that her character felt real. I read that Shelly wrote this film while pregnant with her daughter & scared of how motherhood might change her life & career. They say “write what you know”, right? I think Shelly did that & ended up writing a great & honest film because of it.

This is a smart comedy & I love the (bad) attitudes of every quirky character. As I’ve said, Keri Russell’s pregnant Jenna is very unhappily married to an abusive man (Jeremy Sisto) and certainly not at all happy to be carrying his child. She’s completely apathetic about everything in life other than baking pies, the one thing she loves. She creates her own pies & then gives them special names such as the “I Hate My Husband” pie, which was a fun little touch throughout the movie. Her best friends, fellow waitresses played by Cheryl Hines & Adrienne Shelly, are equally bitter yet so damn likeable.

Nathan Fillion plays Keri Russell’s doctor and the (potential?) knight in shining armor. I really like Fillion (who doesn’t?!) and am glad he was in this as I’m sure some people watched it just because of him. As with everyone else, he’s also far from perfect and comes across as quite awkward. One of the biggest surprises, though, was the grumpy old man played by Andy Griffith. Andy Griffith of all people! He’s great in this, though – a lonely & angry old man who clearly cares about Russell’s character even though it’s not immediately obvious from his gruff exterior.

I’m worried that I’m not making these characters sound very nice… Believe me, I can’t stand movies that have characters you hate! This movie isn’t like that. Hmm… I suppose the closest comparison I can make is to say that the characters reminded me a bit of those on Seinfeld. Every character is seriously flawed and I like that. No one is perfect in life! But they all work perfectly together in this film & create a great subtle humor. The movie stays on the right side of the line – it’s never too mean-spirited and also never becomes annoyingly soppy or saccharine. I personally have no complaints about this movie – I loved the story, the characters, the relationships, the humor, and the great ending (which is beautiful & bittersweet if you know Adrienne Shelly’s tragic story. FYI – if you watch this, the little girl in it is Shelly’s real-life daughter Sophie). Yes, I like Waitress a lot. I think Adrienne Shelly was a very talented writer & it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see anything else she would have created. This movie is an honest look at motherhood & ends up being a love letter of sorts to her daughter, so it’s a lovely film to end up as her legacy.

My Rating: 8.5/10

**I have to add that I had NO idea that Waitress had been made into a musical on Broadway until I started writing this review & saw that it was recently nominated for four Tony Awards. I’d love to see what they’ve done with it! I hope it still captures the spirit of the film.

Also, I wanted to mention that Shelly’s husband Andy Ostroy set up The Adrienne Shelly Foundation after her death, which supports female filmmakers. You can read more about Adrienne Shelly, the Waitress musical, and her Foundation in a recent People article HERE. There’s also a good article at thecelebrityauction.com HERE which has more of the interview with Shelly’s husband in which he talks about her feelings while making Waitress. There’s not a lot of other information online – she really was an “indie queen” in her acting career (which was obvious from the almost complete lack of comments on my reviews for the rather obscure Hal Hartley films on Wednesday).😉 If you’re curious about her work, I obviously recommend Waitress but, after that, you may want to check out those Hal Hartley films as well.

Sleeping With Strangers (1994) & Factotum (2005) Reviews

Tomorrow would’ve been Adrienne Shelly’s 50th birthday so I’m going to be posting reviews of some of her movies. Yesterday I began with her Hal Hartley films The Unbelievable Truth & Trust (reviews HERE) and tomorrow I’ll review her own film Waitress, which she wrote & directed and in which she also starred.

I explained yesterday why I’m reviewing Shelly’s films so I’m going to copy that explanation again here. I’ll just add that her independent films are very hard to get a hold of so today’s movies are unfortunately not very good & I’m sure she’s been in better ones. However, Sleeping With Strangers was a bit of fun and worth the watch as she has a big role & I’m definitely now a fan but she disappointingly only has an extremely small role in Factotum. Here’s what I said yesterday:

First of all, I’ll say a little bit about why I’ve chosen to devote a few days to Adrienne Shelly’s films. I became interested in checking out more of her work after watching the fantastic film Waitress, which she wrote & directed and in which she also starred. I watched Waitress while pregnant just like its main character (played by Keri Russell) and the movie just “spoke” to me in that special sort of way that I know only fellow diehard film lovers might understand. I’d seen her in nothing before & sadly didn’t even know her name until news of her murder just before the film’s release.

Anyway – I won’t go into Waitress now as I’ll be reviewing that on Friday but I so loved the movie & its mix of quirky characters (including Shelly’s role) that I wanted to see the films she’d starred in previously. Wow – they’re hard to get hold of! The one I’m most interested in (Sudden Manhattan, which she also wrote & directed) isn’t available. Of what I could get, I have to say that I liked Waitress far more than the films she only starred in. It’s sad to think of the other fantastic movies she could have made had she not been so cruelly taken from her family, her friends, and the filmmaking world.

Sleeping With Strangers (1994)

Directed by William T Bolson

Written by Joan Carr-Wiggin

Starring: Adrienne Shelly, Alastair Duncan, Kim Huffman, Shawn Thompson, Scott McNeil

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A popular actress (Shelly) and a rock star (McNeil) come to a small Canadian town with two competing hotels next door to each other. The rock star is escorted into one of the hotels and the actress checks into the other. Daniel (Duncan), the owner of one of the two hotels, is trying to stay afloat. The other hotel owner, Mark (Thompson), is trying to steal away Daniel’s business and his fiancee (Huffman). The paparazzi arrives in town and makes everybody wonder, who is sleeping with whom?


*This is the only photo from this movie that I can find online

My Opinion:

I have to begin by saying: Who the HELL are those people on the movie poster??? You know you’re watching some low budget movie with no big names when they just stick some random people on the poster. That picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie – I’m assuming it was an “assignment” where they were given nothing more than the movie’s title & told to take a photo. Stupid. It’s not even the right number of people – the movie’s main characters are two women & three men. Even my DVD has a stupid cover – it’s a picture of two pairs of feet sticking out of a blanket. I prefer that, though, because at least you can almost pretend the feet belong to people who are ACTUALLY IN THE MOVIE.


*Why does Adrienne Shelly’s name have an extra E in some movie posters? I’m wondering if that’s an error or if she started out spelling it that way. Hmm… Yes, these are the little things that bother me in life.

Rant over! Okay – I just spent a paragraph bitching about the poster as I don’t have much to say about the actual movie. I guess it’s a romantic comedy, which is rarely my favorite type of film in the first place, but it’s not exactly the worst I’ve ever seen in this genre. I mean, at least Kate Hudson isn’t in it (or, you know – the 1994 annoying equivalent of Kate Hudson).


*As I said, this must officially be the most obscure movie I’ve reviewed as there are no photos from it online besides the one I used at the very start. So here’s the lovely Shelly on a DVD cover for The Unbelievable Truth…

I only watched this movie for Adrienne Shelly anyway & I’m glad I did as she has a very big role as a famous actress staying at an inn in a small village. Okay, maybe it’s because I’d say I’m a fan now but she’s the best thing about the movie. Her character isn’t really meant to be “liked” but you do warm to her & want nothing more than for her to hook up with the Scottish inn-owner (Alastair Duncan, who is clearly meant to be your favorite character & the one whose inn you want to stay in business). These two are good together & have a nice chemistry while the rest of the characters felt like a waste of time.


*There’s Alastair Duncan, apparently in a few episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Well, Kim Huffman was also good as Duncan’s cheating fiancé – she strikes me as a good actress who just hasn’t gone on to be in anything big. The other two male characters, though, were pointless. The other inn-owner had zero development (he was only there to add drama by being the competition & sleeping with the fiancée) and the rock star boyfriend of Shelly’s sctress was an embarrassment. He was all “Duuuude” and “Whoaaaa” – just a stereotypically sexist hard rocker with big hair. I mean, I love those dumb dudes sometimes (I adore Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure!) but it was just a bit too silly & the dumb comedy involving this character distracted from an otherwise simple story of some small town folks. There were some lesser characters, such as an old lady who lived at the inn & thought she was Queen, who could have been quite endearing if they’d been focused on a bit more. I often like quirky, small town dramedies (I’m thinking of things like Local Hero). If this movie had leaned more toward drama or actually had some good comedy, it would’ve been a much better film. Oh well. It wasn’t the worst movie ever & I’m glad Shelly had such a large role.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Factotum (2005)

Directed by Bent Hamer

Based on Factotum (1975) by Charles Bukowski

Starring: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Adrienne Shelly, Fisher Stevens

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
This drama centers on Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of “Factotum” author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, CA trying to live off jobs which don’t interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Along the way, he fends off the distractions offered by women, drinking and gambling.

My Opinion:

This movie, unfortunately, was a huge waste of my time. Luckily, it was super cheap! Which is why I bought it since it had Shelly listed as an actress in it. Damn – I didn’t realize what an extremely small role it would be. But I also love Lili Taylor (Say Anything! Mystic Pizza!) so I figured “what the hell – it’s cheap & has two actresses I like”. Ugh. I can’t say I got any sort of enjoyment whatsoever out of this movie, which is quite rare. Even ones I absolutely HATE usually have a little something about them that I can appreciate. This was worse than those I hate – it was just a “So what?”.

This movie is based on the book Factotum by author Charles Bukowski & Matt Dillon plays Bukowski’s “fictional alter-ego”. I’ll readily admit that I’d never even heard of Bukowski before watching this movie then reading about it online. I’d say that this film was probably made solely for fans of his writing so, if you’re a fan, you might as well give this a go. If you aren’t, I honestly can’t recommend it. I found it utterly pointless & completely boring considering its main character is supposedly a somewhat controversial figure who doesn’t conform to social norms. Perhaps it would’ve been better in its original setting of the 1940s as in the book since his behavior doesn’t feel shocking in the movie’s 2005. It feels like there IS a story here but, for whatever reason, the movie fails to make it watchable. I’m assuming the book is more interesting as the author appears to have plenty of fans.

Everyone does a decent enough job with the material, however. The movie stars some big names and Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor & Marisa Tomei all give it their usual best. Dillon basically mopes around, writes a bit, jumps from job to job, and has loads of sex with Taylor. For a while, he has sex with Tomei instead. Tomei & a couple other women apparently hang out with a rich old dude just to have a place to stay & sometimes get rides on his yacht (and on him, you assume). Adrienne Shelly plays one of those women. I’m not sure if she even had a line…

I’m not against this sort of film, where you have an unsympathetic central character that most people won’t be able to relate to in any way. But there have been plenty of similar films which didn’t feel like such a huge waste. I don’t expect some Disney ending where everyone learns the error of their ways but I do expect to get a little something out of a film, whether it’s some sort of emotion or if it’s just plain entertainment. I’m thinking of things like Leaving Las Vegas or The Wolf Of Wall Street – both are excellent films with central characters who most people won’t be able to relate to but one film manages to be very emotionally draining while the other is sure as shit entertaining. I’m now curious to see the film Filth to compare – that one certainly looks more interesting than Factotum. I hate to end on a downer but, hey, it’s not like this is an Adrienne Shelly film & I’ll be finishing on a far more positive note when I review Waitress tomorrow.:-)

My Rating: 4/10

The Unbelievable Truth (1989) & Trust (1990) Reviews

This coming Friday would’ve been Adrienne Shelly’s 50th birthday so I’m going to be posting reviews of five of her movies over the next few days. I figured I should begin with these Hal Hartley films as that’s where she got her start.

First of all, I’ll say a little bit about why I’ve chosen to devote a few days to Adrienne Shelly’s films. I became interested in checking out more of her work after watching the fantastic film Waitress, which she wrote & directed and in which she also starred. I watched Waitress while pregnant just like its main character (played by Keri Russell) and the movie just “spoke” to me in that special sort of way that I know only fellow diehard film lovers might understand. I’d seen her in nothing before & sadly didn’t even know her name until news of her murder just before the film’s release.

Anyway – I won’t go into Waitress now as I’ll be reviewing that on Friday but I so loved the movie & its mix of quirky characters (including Shelly’s role) that I wanted to see the films she’d starred in previously. Wow – they’re hard to get hold of! The one I’m most interested in (Sudden Manhattan, which she also wrote & directed) isn’t available. Of what I could get, I have to say that I liked Waitress far more than the films she only starred in. It’s sad to think of the other fantastic movies she could have made had she not been so cruelly taken from her family, her friends, and the filmmaking world.

The Unbelievable Truth (1989)

Directed & Written by Hal Hartley

Starring: Adrienne Shelly, Robert Burke, Christopher Cooke, Julia McNeal, Katherine Mayfield, Gary Sauer, Mark Bailey, David Healy, Matt Malloy, Edie Falco, Paul Schultze, Bill Sage

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After serving time for murder, Josh Hutton returns to his home town where me meets Audry Hugo. No one can remember exactly what Josh did, but they are all wary of him, especially Audry’s father.

My Opinion:

I honestly don’t know how to go about reviewing these two Hal Hartley films. I’ll say they’re definitely NOT going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I do like indie films but they’re all different – I love some but hate others that I find desperate or pretentious. Too many films get the “indie” label slapped on them nowadays so the definition has become muddled. I can say, though, that these two Hartley films are the true definition of INDIE (in all caps & bold!). Hartley has a very unique style & I can say that I’ve never seen any other movies quite like these two.

I watched The Unbelievable Truth first & liked it quite a bit (and much more than Trust, although I get the impression that most Hartley fans prefer Trust?). I just thought it had the better story & I liked the characters a lot more. Both films are less about the “story”, I think, than about the odd mix of characters & how they relate to each other. I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of social commentary going on as well (especially in Trust) that I’m just a little too thick to fully grasp.

Once again, I know nothing about filmmaking but this movie felt very art house to me. The conversations between characters are bizarre & don’t feel like how people would actually interact with each other in the “real world”. Hartley also films the characters in odd ways, such as the way he makes them stand as they speak (almost as if they’re in a play). I’m sure this is a specific style used in art films as I remember old school 1970’s Sesame Street as well as Saturday Night Live spoofing this technique. I really want to share the Sesame Street clip so you know what I mean but I can’t find it! Maybe that’s why I liked this movie, though, as I adore old school Sesame Street.😉 Oh, I did look up the proper definition of art film at Wikipedia just now and, yes, these are most definitely art films:

An art film is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience. An art film is “intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal”; they are “made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit”, and they contain “unconventional or highly symbolic content”.


*I want a dollar bill painted above my bed now

Well, I doubt that what I’ve said so far is really selling this film to anyone… I think both films have the potential to be someone’s all-time favorite film (perusing the IMDB message boards confirms this for me) but you really have to be a big fan of art house indie cinema if you’re going to watch these.

The quirky characters in this film are what sold it to me. And, yes – I liked the awkward ways in which they interacted with one another. I especially liked the two leads with their strange love story (Robert Burke being quiet & mysterious and Shelly being brooding & adorable) and I found the father of Shelly’s character quite funny. This is one of those indie films that worked for me. Yes, it has a dark humor & is “quirk city” but it was fun & entertaining and didn’t feel pretentiously fake like many indie films do nowadays.

But I watched these films simply to see Adrienne Shelly & I wasn’t disappointed. I loved her character in this: a smart & unusual teenage girl who is obsessed with the thought of nuclear war & who falls for a mysterious man who has just finished a jail term for murder. She was unconventionally beautiful (by Hollywood standards – I think she was gorgeous) and it’s a shame that she didn’t become a more well known name for her work. However, it’s also great in many ways that she remained an “indie queen” in this hidden little gem of a movie. If you’re interested in watching one of her films, I’d still recommend her own Waitress movie first but The Unbelievable Truth is most definitely worth your time as well if you love Waitress as much as I did.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Trust (1990)

Directed & Written by Hal Hartley

Starring: Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco, Merritt Nelson, John MacKay

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
When Maria (Shelly), a recent high school dropout, announces her unplanned pregnancy to her family, her father dies of heart failure, her mother immediately evicts her from the household and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Lonely and with nowhere to go, Maria wanders her town in search of a place to stay. Along the way, she meets Matthew (Donovan), a highly educated and extremely moody electronics repairman. The two begin an unusual romance built on their sense of mutual admiration and trust.

My Opinion:

After really enjoying The Unbelievable Truth, I found Trust to be disappointing. Both films are very obviously from the same director but the “quirk city” thing that worked for me in the first film just didn’t quite connect with me this time. I think some Hartley fans do prefer this one, though, so I guess it just depends on the sort of thing you go for.

Both films have a dark humor but this one is definitely much darker plus I didn’t like any of the characters at all, really, whereas they were the best thing about The Unbelievable Truth. Shelly’s teenage character is the best thing about both films but this time comes across as a bit “bratty” at first. However, this does turn around plus ends up being completely understandable as we spend more time with her asshole family. I also liked the male love interest far less in this movie but, again, that may just be me as a lot of fans really liked him. He’s extremely emotionally unstable which is fine but, no thanks – he’s far too high maintenance for my taste! I just bought into the whole thing of “two people not fitting into society yet bizarrely working perfectly as a couple in their own fucked-up way” thing much more in The Unbelievable Truth. I found that I didn’t care what happened to the characters in Trust.

I’m keeping this review short as I think I covered everything in the first review. Basically, this is the same movie again but darker, with an even more meandering story that seemed to go nowhere, and with characters I didn’t like. It’s not a bad movie, though – these are two unique films & I can understand why Hartley has a following of fans (and why others would absolutely hate his stuff). From what I’ve read, all of his films have the same sort of style so I don’t know if I’ll ever watch another one as, yes, I only watched these to see Adrienne Shelly. I’m slightly curious about seeing more and if they differ much, though – if they were more easily available I might check one out. I’d love to hear from any fans of his but think my blog may have finally gone a bit too obscure this time.😉 Has anyone else here ever watched a Hal Hartley film?

My Rating: 6/10

*I know that not many people will have even heard of these movies so I’m including the trailers in case you’re at all interested…

What Some Of Your Favorite Songs Would Look Like As Vintage Movies

Songs turned into grindhouse movie posters? I like it! Although, personally, most of these aren’t my favorite songs (I do love Sound Of Da Police by KRS-One, though! Whoop Whoop! Oh god I’m a dork…). Anyway, these look like damn awesome movies whether you like the music or not. I think the above Cypress Hill Insane In The Brain poster is easily the best, though. Genius! And, okay – I’ll admit that I like that song too. Because I’m LOCO! (Wow – I even sound like a dork when saying that in my head)

These posters are by art director David Redon for a series called MusiXploitation. You can read more about these posters at Fastcocreate.com & you can see his other great posters at his site here: Behance.net

**Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be reviewing some Adrienne Shelly films as it would’ve been her birthday this coming Friday. Tomorrow I’ll be starting with her Hal Hartley films The Unbelievable Truth & Trust.

Scott Ian Turns Into A White Walker While George R.R. Martin Talks To Stephen King

George R.R. Martin interviewed Stephen King at an event last Thursday night?! Wow! How did I miss the news of these two legends being in the same room together? And I love Martin’s question to King: “How the f*%k do you write so fast?” HA! You can read more about this event & some of their conversation here: thisisinsider.com. Wish I’d been there!

FYI – I’m aware that last night was the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones, meaning someone big most likely died a horrible death. I’m in the UK and didn’t feel like staying up until 3am to watch it so SHUT YOUR YAP until I’ve watched it tonight!!!😉

Any regulars here probably know by now that I’m a HUGE fan of Stephen King but, as for Martin’s books, I shamefully have yet to read them even though I got A Game Of Thrones for Christmas 2014. I know, I know… Hey, he’s apparently such a slow writer that I should easily catch up before he finishes the next book, right?? At least I’ve finally read ONE of his books (Tuf Voyaging – I loved it! Review HERE).

And to keep with a Game Of Thrones theme for this post, I thought I’d share a link where you can watch Scott Ian of Anthrax get a White Walker makeover. Scott Ian of Anthrax!!!! Don’t you dare say “Who?” my young bloggers – Scott Ian rules. I was such a huge Anthrax fan in my teen years and I absolutely loved that they so often included pop culture references in their songs (such as Judge Dredd, Blue Velvet, and my beloved Stephen King’s books). Geeky metalheads! Is there anything cooler?

Anyway – it’s a great video to check out whether you’re a Scott Ian fan or just a Game Of Thrones fan. Ian has a video series called Bloodworks where he goes behind the scenes to talk to make-up and effects artists & he talks to Barrie Gower, prosthetic makeup designer for Game Of Thrones, for this episode. Check out the article & video here: io9.

R.I.P. Anton Yelchin 

I don’t really tend to do tribute posts but felt I should say a little something about Anton Yelchin as I really enjoyed his work as an actor. There are still quite a few films of his that I have yet to see but I first noticed him in Charlie Bartlett, a great film that deserved more recognition & his crazy character was to thank for making that film so enjoyable. I of course thought he was great as Chekov in Star Trek & Star Trek Into Darkness and it was cool seeing him in the adaptation of Odd Thomas, one of my favorite Dean Koontz books. But, of what I’ve seen, Charlie Bartlett is the one that really shows his unique talent. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it. What a sad loss.

R.I.P. Anton Viktorovich Yelchin (March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016)

Star Wars Vegetables & A New Eurotrash Special!

Okitsugu Kado is the sushi chef behind these fantastic Star Wars vegetable creations. The above jawas are my favorite but you can see loads more photos of the chef’s culinary art here: Kotaku.com

And I’ve just read that there’s going to be a one-off Eurotrash special airing tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm! I am SO watching that. Reruns of this bizarre show were among the very first things I watched on British TV after moving to the UK. Seriously – It made me wonder what the hell I’d gotten myself into by moving here…

Read all about this one-off Brexit special of Eurotrash here: Guardian.com. I’m looking forward to seeing the man who apparently paints portraits with his penis. 

My Top Ten Video Game Movies

After watching Warcraft: The Beginning last week, I started thinking about other movies based on video games. I thought Warcraft wasn’t too bad (as far as these adaptations go) and thought it may actually be one of the better ones.

For this, I worked off the list of video game movie adaptations at Wikipedia. It turns out that I’ve seen hardly any (Warcraft, Silent Hill, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider & Alone In The Dark). That’s it! And, wow – other than Warcraft, those movies are absolute shit. In fact, Alone In The Dark was so bad that a bunch of us bloggers watched it at the same time while trashing it in the Comments section for Shitfest at The IPC (you can check that post out HERE – it was good fun!). Therefore, I can now officially declare that Warcraft: The Beginning is the best film based on a video game that I’ve seen!

So what the heck is this top ten all about? At the above Wikipedia link, there’s another section entitled “Films With Plots Centered On Video Games“. Yes! There are some great movies in this section! Why is it that movies in which video games play a big part are often so good but it seems that no one can turn an actual video game into a decent movie?

I admit to being lazy this time & working only off the Wikipedia list but their lists are never complete. If you can think of other video game based movies, let me know. As always, though, my Top Tens only contain movies that I’ve actually seen. I’m hoping that once Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s awesome Ready Player One comes out that it’ll be a very high addition to this list. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am for that one – I absolutely loved that book & Spielberg is the perfect choice to be directing it!:-)

Okay – here are My Top Ten Movies With Plots Centered On Video Games (counting down to my favorite):

10. Pixels
Ugh! What a huge disappointment this was but I have to see more video game movies before I can knock this off the list…

9. Nightmares (segment: The Bishop Of Battle)

8. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

7. TRON: Legacy

6. Summer Wars

5. The Last Starfighter

4. Wreck-It Ralph

3. TRON

2. eXistenZ

1. WarGames

A Few I Haven’t Seen But Want To Mention:

– Angry Birds

I have somehow so far avoided having the kid drag me to this one.:-)

Arcade & Brainscan

For years I was slightly obsessed with finding a mid-90’s movie I saw part of in which teens were being killed inside a video game. Some kind people on this blog informed me that it sounded like Brainscan. Thank you, kind people! But I’m now thinking it may actually be the movie Arcade. Hmm! I have to track both these movies down to know for sure…

The FP

Speaking of movie obsessions, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with wanting to watch this 2011 movie ever since I heard about it. Here’s the synopsis from IMDB:

In a post apocalyptic future, two rival gangs fight for control of Frazier Park by playing “Beat Beat Revelation”, a deadly version of Dance, Dance, Revolution(TM).

Are you shitting me?! That sounds like the best bad movie EVER! But I don’t think it became some big cult classic so maybe it’s not as goodbad as it sounds. But I still badly want to see it.