Music Video Friday: Metallica – The Unforgiven

Today’s video is Metallica’s The Unforgiven. The first one. The good one. Hell, I didn’t even know there was a third Unforgiven until I looked this video up on YouTube for this post.

I was a huge Metallica fan in my teen years but I have to admit that I started losing interest after the Load & Reload albums. I was out of high school by that point and moving on somewhat from my headbanging days but, quite frankly, those albums were also really shit compared to their previous ones. Well, I believe Garage, Inc. came out just after those? I did like that album a lot but that’s because I already loved the songs that were on the original Garage Days Re-Revisited (The Wait & The Small Hours rule). A few of the new covers on Garage, Inc. were okay too but, mostly, it was the older re-released covers that were the best. Man, I remember how excited I was in anticipation of Load & Reload being released, though! What a massive disappointment.

It was the same way with Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion I & II. Remember those?! Ugh. Although, more decent singles actually came out of those than Metallica’s Load or Reload… Unbelievable! I far prefer Metallica. I was actually just getting over mono, which I was convinced would be the death of me (mono sucks), when those Guns N’ Roses albums came out & I dragged myself from my death bed to go buy those fuckers. Dammit. Those albums were SO not worth setting back my mono-recovery for a few more days.

But I digress. Massively. Because The Unforgiven is from Metallica’s last truly good (although very mainstream & not my actual favorite) album. Master Of Puppets is probably my favorite album, followed by Ride The Lightning. Sorry… Reminiscing again! I miss old school metal. Ah, but Metallica’s Black Album (or self-titled if you prefer) came along when I was the perfect age for it & it ended up being the one I’ve heard the most by far as my friends & I would drive around constantly listening to it. I remember a friend & I going to a local fair and headbanging to the album being played loudly on one of the rides. The carnies saw us and decided it would be fun to leave us on the ride for f*^king ages while I screamed at them to stop the damn ride because all the headbanging ended up making me sick. Those bastards. Ahh…. The teen years…. *sigh*

Okay – should I actually talk about the video for The Unforgiven? I suppose One is Metallica’s most famous video (I love that too – I’ll post it one of these Fridays) but I became quite obsessed with this one. Why? Because I was an idiot teenager with too much time on my hands & I loved to analyze lyrics & videos and to think I was all deep & shit. I thought The Unforgiven video was all deep & shit too. I could totally relate to my interpretation of this video and I was all “Metallica understand me & my teen angst, man!”. Or something. I dunno but I don’t have time for overanalyzing anything anymore. You lose interest in that in old age (and when you have kids). I’m too tired for that shit now!

But, watching this again now and clearly remembering every single second of it despite not seeing it in decades, I do still think it’s a fantastic video. I always saw it as being about lonliness & desperately trying to reach out & open up to someone but never being able to. How teen angst is that! But according to Wikipedia:

“The song deals with the theme of the struggle of the individual against the efforts of those who would subjugate him.”

Bullshit. I like my interpretation better. Maybe that’s the meaning of the lyrics but not so much the video. There was a longer 11 1/2 minute version of the video but I don’t think the extra bits added to the story (you can watch that HERE if you want). Then of course there was The Unforgiven II from Reload and I appreciate the similar theme to that video (HERE) but it doesn’t make much sense plus I was too old by that point to care to spend time analyzing it. Finally, there’s The Unforgiven III, which I can’t seem to find a video for other than one showing clips of the first two. Does anyone know if one exists?

Well, this was a nice little trip down memory lane but it’s time for me to go take out my dentures & listen to Adele. Ha! Just kidding. Adele sucks. Here’s The Unforgiven video. Finally.

My Top Ten Rob Lowe Movies

Happy Belated Birthday to Rob Lowe, who turned 52 on, um, March 17th! Okay, I had this post scheduled for that day but posted something else instead. So Rob Lowe got bumped! (Sorry, Rob)😉

Rob Lowe’s movies were kind of in that generation just a little before my time so I didn’t really grow up seeing most of them (just like Diane Lane’s – I did my Top Ten of her films HERE). Those who know me may be shocked to know that I’m not even sure of the first time I saw St. Elmo’s Fire but I’m thinking I was at least 18 or 19. It didn’t connect with me in the same way the John Hughes films did. 

As for Rob Lowe, I’ll admit he’s never exactly been a favorite of mine or anything. He’s also been in a lot of dodgy movies but, hey, that almost makes it more fun to choose my ten favorites. I did like how he didn’t take himself seriously in my number one film – I think a lot of people saw him as being similar to that character & I think doing that sort of role was the right kind of move for him. 

So now, counting down to my favorite, these are My Top Ten Rob Lowe Movies (not roles):

10. TIE: Class & About Last Night…
(I barely remember either of these but think they were probably equally crap so I’m sticking them at ten)😉

9. Tommy Boy

8. Contact
(Rob Lowe was in this???)

7. The Austin Powers Movies

6. Square Dance (aka Home Is Where The Heart Is)
(I had no idea how obscure this movie was until I saw it only has about 600 votes at IMDB. It also stars Winona Ryder – I recorded it off TV when it came out & watched it over & over. I wish I still had it!)

5. The Stand

4. Youngblood

3. St. Elmo’s Fire

2. The Outsiders

1. Wayne’s World
(I’m obsessed with Wayne’s World – ask anyone who knew me in 1992. Or my hubby, who calls me the female Garth Algar)

Predestination (2014) Review

Predestination (2014)

Directed by Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig

Based on ‘—All You Zombies—’ by Robert A. Heinlein

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

My Opinion:

Of all the mindfuck time travel movies, this is one of the mindfuckiest. And I love a good mindfuck time travel movie so this was exactly my sort of thing! I’ll discuss it a little but promise to remain entirely spoiler-free.

I absolutely love sci-fi above all other genres when it comes to movies but I’ve read very little of it. I figure it’s all way too over my head, especially the ones involving complicated time travel. Therefore, I’ve not read ‘—All You Zombies—’, the Robert A. Heinlein short story that this movie is based on (or anything by Robert A. Heinlein for that matter). But it’s a great story! Bizarre & a bit mental but thoroughly entertaining. I’d love to actually read it now. From what I read about this movie afterwards, as it’s one of those where you immediately go online for some explanations, it’s very faithful to the story so Heinlein fans seem happy with it. From what I can tell, one element has been added which was probably to make it a little more “exciting” for a movie audience? But I don’t think it was a necessary addition as the main story is strong enough. I need to track down the actual short story now…

As I said, I’m going to remain spoiler-free but that will make this a very short review. I believe this movie is one where it’s best to know nothing about it beforehand in order to get the most enjoyment from it. However, I’m going to include the trailer at the end for anyone who needs further convincing to check this one out. Which makes no sense as I just said you should know as little as possible…😉 Basically, only watch the trailer if you’re mildly interested but skip it if you already know that this sounds like your sort of movie.

The Spierig Brothers have made very few other films but I’d be interested in seeing them make more based on how they handled this one. The only other movie of theirs that I’ve seen in Daybreakers (they clearly like Ethan Hawke). I really liked Daybreakers but I don’t think it was hugely successful. I have to say Predestination is a lot better, though, so I don’t know why it seems to have gone fairly unnoticed. The movie it most seems to get compared to is Looper but I think it’s a stronger story with much better performances (especially from Sarah Snook, who I’ll talk about in a minute). I wouldn’t say the two are very similar other than that they’re both about time travel & have a similar sort of mood. Otherwise, Looper is more of an action movie whereas Predestination is an introspective film that’s more about the characters than about trying to capture a criminal (making the above plot synopsis a bit misleading). You could be disappointed if you expect a lot of action from this one: Predestination is somewhere between Looper & Primer. However, I think I understand Predestination after reading explanations of parts of it online & I think I could follow the timeline if I watch it again whereas Primer will never, ever make any sense to me whatsoever (I attempted to review Primer HERE).

Summary:

Will someone please watch this & discuss it with me?? My hubby fell asleep ten minutes into it! (He was tired…). I really enjoyed it but there’s one bit that’s all “Whoa… Whaaaat?!?!?” so I’m not sure if everyone could move past that bit & fully appreciate the film. If you can, you’ll be treated to one heck of a bizarre story. You’ll also experience a truly fantastic performance from Sarah Snook. Why hasn’t she been in more films?! I don’t know her at all. All I’ve seen her in is a small role in Steve Jobs. Hawke is also very good in this (I love him but don’t always think he’s the best actor) but Snook is the one who truly makes this movie. Without her intense performance, I think the story would be harder to accept.

As for time travel accuracy, I’m no expert so can’t say how “possible” this story is but those who know more about that sort of thing have written about this movie (and short story) so there are plenty of more well-informed scientific opinions you can find online. I learned all about a specific time travel paradox that I won’t name as it might give too much away to any sci-fi people but, once you’ve watched this movie, HERE is a good link I found at astronomytrek.com when I Googled “Predestination explanation“. Obviously, don’t click that link unless you’ve seen the movie! And don’t watch the below trailer if you now desperately want to see this based on my amazingly worded review. Stay in the dark unless you’re one of those who must feel all your Christmas presents.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Warrior (2011) IMDB Top 250 Review

The guest reviews have dried up so here I am again, finally reviewing another one of these for my own IMDB Top 250 project. You see, I’ve been super lazy on doing these reviews but not as lazy on actually watching the movies. So let’s discuss Warrior, which I watched on August 22nd 2015! This should be entertaining as I barely remember the damn thing…😉

Warrior (2011)

Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Nick Nolte

IMDB Top 250 Rank: 153 as of 01/01/13

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.

My Opinion:

I remember this film having very good performances, totally dysfunctional family relationships, lots of fighting, and me falling asleep several times (especially during the long mixed martial arts tournament at the end). This movie is good but it didn’t work for me. Hey, that happens sometimes. Any regulars here will know that I give ratings mostly based on my own personal enjoyment of a movie but do factor in a movie’s “worthiness” somewhat as well. Yes, it probably deserves higher praise than it will seem that I’m giving it. Let’s discuss the good things about it.

The performances. Most notably: Nick Nolte. He’s the best thing about this. He did get nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the estranged alcoholic father of Joel Edgerton & Tom Hardy and I think that nomination was well-deserved. A lot of people might say that Tom Hardy is the best thing about this and, yes, he’s very good too but Nolte’s performance was more memorable for me. I think Edgerton was probably unfairly ignored in this as he’s the most “together” of this estranged family while Hardy’s U.S. Marine & Nolte’s recovering alcoholic are thoroughly damaged individuals. The truly damaged characters always get the most attention but I think Edgerton & Hardy are equally good in this.

Can I just go off topic slightly & say that I’m always confusing Nick Nolte & Gary Busey? Like, I keep thinking “I really liked Nick Nolte in Point Break” then later realize that it was actually Gary Busey. Anyone else ever mix up a couple of actors? They were just in the same types of movies at the same sort of time and they look kind of similar. Busey was the crazy one, though, right? You know what Nolte movie I really like, though? Three Fugitives! I probably shouldn’t admit that… It’s one of my embarrassing guilty pleasures.

Where were we? Oh. Warrior. Yeah. As I said, it was almost a year ago that I watched it. Everyone in it was angry & depressed & damaged & had some sort of drama going on in their lives so the men relieved their stress by kicking each other’s asses. Edgerton was a lovely father & husband, though.

Okay – there’s no point in me rambling on as I’m just trying to tick these unseen IMDB Top 250 movies off my list. Watch them, write a tiny bit about each, and move on. Does this deserve to be in the Top 250 alongside some of the absolute classic films on the list? Of course not. It IS a very good film with fantastic performances but it’s no The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (the last Top 250 film I reviewed which, although also not my type of “thing”, I gave an extremely positive review as there was no denying its moments of pure genius).

I’d never disagree with anyone who does love this film as I can easily understand its appeal. I’d also most definitely recommend it to either gender but, yes, mostly to males who like movies such as Rocky as this is aimed more at them. I’ll admit this now: I also have yet to watch Rocky for this project but I’ve seen enough bits & pieces of that film over the years to know it’s not just about “guys beating each other up”. If it was, it wouldn’t be so highly regarded. Warrior is exactly the same: it’s a film about the characters, their relationships, determination, and overcoming the odds. The mixed martial arts is just the backdrop but, hey, that makes it a far more entertaining film for those who like that sort of thing. It’s predictable & there are a lot of clichés but they’re forgivable as the three central performances are so good. This is the equivalent of a chick flick for men although no one would probably dare say that as “chick flicks” get a bad rap. I like the occasional chick flick the same way I like any clichéd feel-good movie and Warrior is truly no different – it just transcends these faults thanks to the strong characters. Its IMDB rating is 8.2 so don’t let my opinion put you off.

My Rating: 6/10


True Romance (1993) Blind Spot Review

True Romance (1993)

Directed by Tony Scott

Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken

Music by Hans Zimmer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.

My Opinion:

*This is my fourth Blind Spot review after An Education, Summer Wars & Natural Born Killers.

When choosing my Blind Spot movies for this year, True Romance was the first one I thought of as I’d been meaning to watch it for years but, for some reason, just never got around to it. I like Tarantino and love both Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette so I was really excited to finally make myself sit down & watch this. I ended up with two Blind Spot movies written by Quentin Tarantino as I also added Natural Born Killers as kind of an afterthought and wasn’t even really looking forward to watching that like I was with True Romance. However, I was very surprised to find that I was slightly disappointed with True Romance while I actually thought that Natural Born Killers was the much better film.

First of all, I’ll say that this movie has plenty of what Tarantino is good at: cool characters & fun dialogue. It also has another thing he’s sometimes good at: a messy plot. Normally, I don’t really mind that so much as long as everything else is good but I did find the messy story a little distracting with this one. I admit I watched this late at night & was very tired but did I miss whatever happened to Christopher Walken? It seemed like he was introduced & that he was important but then he just disappeared? I also thought the big finale felt a bit forced & silly. I wonder if the movie would be much different if it had actually been directed by Tarantino as well? This came out after Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (although I think it was written before?) but Reservoir Dogs is the much better film overall.

Don’t get me wrong, though – this movie is fun & I did enjoy it. It’s surprising I never watched it as I was totally in love with Christian Slater in those days thanks to Heathers, Pump Up The Volume & Untamed Heart (shut up – I adore Untamed Heart!). And he’s good in this but the true star is actually Patricia Arquette. I’ve really liked Arquette ever since A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors but have missed out on a lot of her movies (I recently did a top ten list of her movies HERE in which I kind of had to cheat to make it up to ten). I’ve never understood why she wasn’t in more movies so am glad she got recognized with an Oscar for her role in Boyhood. True Romance is surely her most defining role, though.

As with any Tarantino-related film, the cast they got together for this is super impressive. Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, and…. Balki from Perfect Strangers?!? Okay, Bronson Pinchot felt out of place (plus it’s a fairly big role compared to some other big names!). Shall we have a look at those with much smaller roles? Hmm. Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Rapaport, Saul Rubinek, James Gandolfini… so many well known names & faces in this! Although some weren’t as huge when this came out, I suppose. Such as Brad Pitt, who is adorable as a total stoner.

The two who really stand out in smaller roles, however, are Dennis Hopper (as Slater’s dad) & especially Gary Oldman (as Arquette’s evil pimp). I really miss Hopper – I always found him entertaining. He was loads of fun being a crazy bastard most of the time in things like Blue Velvet & Speed but I liked seeing him in a more straightforward role here & in a memorable scene with Walken.

I also like Gary Oldman (doesn’t everybody?) but, at the same time, I’ve never really noticed him all that much. He’s just one of those rare actors who is so different in every single role. For example, I love Jack Nicholson but always feel like I’m watching “Jack Nicholson” when I watch one of his movies. Oldman becomes the characters he plays and his role here, although far smaller than I thought it would be, is easily the most memorable thing about the whole film. I think James Franco clearly watched him in this before doing Spring Breakers. Oldman really deserves more recognition than he gets (but that’s probably because he’s so often unrecognizable!).

I suppose I was a bit tough on this film in my opening paragraph but, as is obvious from what I’ve spent the whole time talking about, the strong characters are what I assume make this film such a fan favorite. And it certainly feels like the films that Tarantino went on to direct himself due to the characters, the conversations, and of course the copious amounts of violence that I had to turn away from (one scene involving Arquette was a bit too intense for me). Shockingly, I found this more violent than the super violent (yet anti-violence) Natural Born Killers.

The thing that works the most, though, (for me at least) was the actual “romance”. I loved Slater & especially loved Arquette and wanted them to live happily ever after. These two had amazing chemistry in this! You just knew their characters had really hot sex. And, hey – they first meet in a movie theater & bond over a similar love of movies: that’s the perfect way to start a romance in this movie blogger’s opinion! Did they date in real life after making this like most stars do when they make films together? I have no idea but they should have. Hey – are they both single nowadays? I think they should hook up! Arquette totally should’ve married Slater instead of Nicolas Cage. Although I can’t blame her for marrying Thomas Jane. He’s a hottie.

Summary:

Well, I’ve said all I really need to say about this. True Romance is a really fun film thanks to Tarantino’s way of writing great characters & their interactions with one another but I was still a little disappointed that the story itself was weak. I also thought the scenes involving Elvis talking to Slater’s character didn’t really work & felt out of place. But I’d most definitely recommend this if you’re a fan of either Tarantino or Tony Scott or of the many big name stars in this movie. Like most of Scott’s films, this has a little bit of the gung-ho American action movie thing going on but it still mostly feels like a Tarantino movie (and it sure as hell is a lot more violent than Scott’s other work). I’m glad I finally watched this and the main things I’ll always remember are the fantastic performances from the likes of Arquette, Oldman and Hopper plus, of course, the romance itself. Slater & Arquette are perfect together.

My Rating: 7/10

Music Video Friday: Chaka Khan – I Feel For You

Today’s video is Prince’s song I Feel For You as performed by Chaka Khan. It won him the 1985 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.

I think we were all shocked by the death of Prince yesterday. I’m not going to turn this into a big tribute post as I don’t really do those (I did a very short post for David Bowie but it was a struggle as I’m such a big fan). I’ll just say that I don’t have loads of knowledge when it comes to all of Prince’s work but there’s no denying that the man had a massive amount of talent that we rarely see in new artists these days. This really is a sad year for celebrity deaths as we’ve lost some absolute legends. And what are we left with? There are so few true originals anymore. Look at David Bowie. And Freddie Mercury. And Prince. True superstars. What’s the equivalent these days?! I feel kind of sad for the current generation of kids who have to grow up with those who pass as “music stars” nowadays.

As for Prince’s music, I’m of course most fond of his early & mid-80’s stuff because of the age that I am. Soon after that, I turned into more of a rock & metal fan so I left things like Prince behind. I’m not going to pretend that he was ever a favorite artist of mine musically but I really liked several of his songs from that time period. I’m not sure what my favorite would be… If I’m honest, it’s probably either Delirious or Raspberry Beret but those might seem like odd choices to most people. Well, I think they’re great.:-) My next favorites would be Little Red Corvette, 1999, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain & Let’s Go Crazy. Yes, it looks like those are all between 1982 & 1985 so it’s obvious what era I liked but he’s one of those artists where everyone will have their own favorite time period of his work.

Prince of course also wrote a lot of great songs which became huge hits performed by other artists. One of the biggest was Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U and I really like Manic Monday by The Bangles (and get super annoyed anytime I hear it played on the radio on a day other than Monday. That should be against the law!). My favorite, though, is his song I Feel For You as performed by Chaka Khan. That’s more my type of thing! Chaka Khan is awesome & the video was great.

Here’s a bit about the song & video from Wikipedia:

“Khan’s version featured an all-star supporting cast, with rapping from Melle Mel, keyboard and guitar by The System’s David Frank, and chromatic harmonica playing by Stevie Wonder. The video featured Khan with a disc jockey and break dancers Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp, Bruno Falcon and Ana Sánchez—all of whom appeared in the movie Breakin’.”

Yes! Breakin’ rules. This era of music was the best. I miss this kind of thing…

Finally, I’ll end with a clip of Prince performing a version of his classic Purple Rain. His videos aren’t available on YouTube, which is why I haven’t shared any, but I think this clip is the perfect way to end this post.

R.I.P. Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

My Top Ten Jack Nicholson Movies

Happy Birthday to Jack Nicholson, who turns 79 tomorrow!:-)

I love Jack. Jack is cool. I’d love to be as cool as Jack! He’s been a favorite actor of mine for years – Probably ever since I saw my top two movies on this list at the age of 15 or so. And, okay – since I also saw Batman at that same time. I became slightly obsessed with Jack’s Joker. I even had some awesome Joker earrings that I wore for months in 1989. What a nerd…

Nicholson has been in some damn good films. It’s not often that I do these Top Ten Actor lists where a couple of the movies are all-time favorites of mine but I can say that’s definitely the case this time with the two that top this list. Absolute classics! I like all the movies in this list but the top two are truly special and a lot of that is thanks to Jack’s performance in each of them. He’s my favorite crazy bastard.

Let’s get this started! Wow – it’s also not often that I’ve reviewed NONE of the films in a top ten I’m doing. A lot of that is down to me being uncomfortable “reviewing” the movies I love the most & I keep putting off reviewing the top two for my IMDB Top 250 Project. Anyway – here are My Top Ten Jack Nicholson Movies (not ranked by performance) counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: A Few Good Men & Mars Attacks!

9. Easy Rider

8. Tommy

7. Terms Of Endearment

6. The Bucket List

5. The Departed

4. Batman

3. Chinatown

2. The Shining

1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

**In case you wonder why some movies are missing, it may be because I haven’t seen them. Here are the remainder of his films that I’ve seen, but some were so long ago that I need to re-watch them:

– How Do You Know (the only one he was in that I’d consider “bad”)
– The Witches Of Eastwick (need to re-watch)
– Something’s Gotta Give
– Little Shop Of Horrors (need to re-watch)
– As Good As It Gets
– Anger Management
– About Schmidt (Jack was great in this)

Also, here’s a quick Happy Birthday tomorrow to Amber Heard (30 – mother of Pistol & Boo) and to the gorgeous Catherine Mary Stewart (57 – one of my favorite Twitter buddies). Yes, Catherine Mary Stewart & her co-star Kelli Maroney both followed me on Twitter after I reviewed their classic 80’s movie Night Of The Comet. And I use every opportunity possible to keep mentioning that on my blog…:-)

(Some of my other celeb followers: Zach Galligan, Linnea Quigley, a girl from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the dude who got his throat ripped out in Road House!!!! I love my mostly-80’s celebrity Twitter followers!)😉

Finally, there is one cool celebrity birthday that is actually today: Iggy Pop has just turned 69. Wow – he doesn’t look a day over 109!

Turbo Kid & Space Station 76 Movie Reviews

I figured I’d review these two movies together as they’re both (spoofs of? homages to?) a couple of very specific genres that I love. And I really enjoyed them both! But neither manages to quite capture the spirit of the films they’re emulating, although I appreciate their effort. Let’s discuss…:-)

Turbo Kid (2015)

Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell

Starring: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery, Romano Orzari

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows the adventures of The Kid, a teenage boy turned superhero in the “Wastelands”, an alternate 1997 Earth where water is scarce. He teams up with a mysterious girl, Apple, to stop the tyrannical leader Zeus.

My Opinion:

An 80’s-style post-apocalyptic film set in an alternate sci-fi 1997?! And starring Michael Ironside, my favorite low-budget Jack Nicholson?!! Holy shit – sign me the hell up! I actually knew nothing about this movie until reading Digital Shortbread Tom’s great review (HERE). So, when it finally appeared on UK Netflix a couple of weeks ago, I watched it immediately. It’s a lot of fun! It’s flawed but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hoping to love it but I appreciate the effort they put into the film.

There’s Michael Ironside hamming it up perfectly as the main baddie! And check out this other baddie, who looks like some fucked-up mash-up of Jason Voorhees & a Quiet Riot album cover.

This was out ages ago in America but if you’re in the UK & don’t know anything about it, be warned that it’s mega violent. Funny, very fake violence. Lots of people exploding & blood splattering everywhere. The type of OTT fake gore that I can actually handle – I’m a wuss about realistic violence in movies but it’s played for laughs in this one. In fact, I have to give the writers credit on some extremely inventive kills here, such as one involving a bike & a rather lovely one involving an umbrella. They’re almost up there with the marionette death in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (but not quite – nothing beats that one).

As every review of this states, this movie is Mad Max on bikes instead of in cars. That alone was enough to sell it to me. Seeing all the images from the film helped as well and I think they did a decent job making things look good on (what appears to be but maybe it’s meant to appear to be??) a very low budget. The gory special effects had the great fake 80’s look they were going for but, more than anything, I just really liked the design of the characters and their crazy mix of 80’s-post-apocalyptic-inspired costumes. And look how cool our two main heroes look! I’d dress like Apple if I was a teenager & into cosplay instead of a boring old woman working in an office. Mainly, I just BADLY want my own gnome stick! 

Speaking of Apple, I was afraid she’d be waaaay too annoying at first but I have to say they managed to turn that around & I ended up liking her by the end. So bear with her if you watch this – she’s meant to be annoying but she ends up rather endearing. And I thought that Munro Chambers, who plays Turbo Kid, was really good! I wonder if this role will get him noticed – it looks like he hasn’t been in much besides TV stuff like Degrassi: The Next Generation. Ha! I remember when they made us watch Degrassi Junior High early on in high school because it dealt with issues such as pregnancy & the teachers didn’t want us to get knocked up, I guess. Or to have to teach a class instead of sticking us in front of a TV…

This will be one of those reviews where I say loads of great things then confuse people by giving it an average rating. I can’t quite put my finger on it but, overall, this film doesn’t quite work. It maybe tries a little bit too hard? Like I said to the hubby, it often feels like current movies like these are being made by people who love 80’s films but are too young to have actually lived through that whole decade (I can’t find info on the directors’ ages). I have to say that Space Station 76 actually got things more “right” in terms of re-creating a mood from a specific era although Turbo Kid is the more entertaining film of the two. I do respect what they’ve done with this movie, though, as it feels like a movie where those making it have really put their heart into the project. I’d certainly be interested in watching anything else this group of people will hopefully make in the future. Turbo Kid 2? I’d definitely check that out if it happened. I mean, don’t a lot of people prefer the second Mad Max film to the first one? Maybe Turbo Kid 2 would be perfect.

My Rating: 7/10

Space Station 76 (2014)

Directed by Jack Plotnick

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan, Kylie Rogers, Kali Rocha, Jerry O’Connell, Keir Dullea

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A 1970s version of the future, where personalities and asteroids collide.

My Opinion:

A dark comedy in the style of a 1970’s sci-fi film?! Plus Keir Dullea, Todd Rundgren, and a hot guy (Matt Bomer)?!? Sign me the hell up! I’m obsessed with 80’s movies & with post-apocalyptic movies just like the makers of Turbo Kid clearly are but nothing beats good ‘ol 70’s sci-fi for me and I absolutely loved the way they captured the look of those films for this. However, I’m going to put this disclaimer in right now: I am not recommending this movie to anyone. Watch it at your own risk & don’t come moaning to me if you hate it. Got it? Because most of you would hate this movie. I almost steered clear when I saw its IMDB score of 4.9/10. Yikes! That’s the kind of rating for the movies Eric watches! But I’m glad I decided to watch it anyway & make my own mind up. Because I really liked it.

I’d say that labelling this a “comedy”, dark or not, was maybe a bit of a mistake as a lot of people were probably expecting something very different. This movie is quite depressing at times, as each character is suffering from a different kind of lonliness and a longing to be loved or, at the very least, accepted. I read that the director thought of the space station in the film as a suburb, which perfectly describes how the movie feels. A groovy 70’s suburb! Far out, man. The closest I can come to describing this movie is to say it’s Dynasty in space. But more Seventies than Eighties… (Hubby disagrees with me & says it’s “Space: 1999, the Richard Linklater edition” but I never saw Space: 1999 so can’t make that comparison)

We don’t know what year this movie is set in (and don’t need to) but it’s meant to look & feel like the 1970s in the same way so many sci-fi films made during that decade still looked totally Seventies because of the clothing & the decor despite being set in the future & in space . What I really liked were all the movie’s subtle little touches & anachronisms. They’re on a fancy space station complete with cool gadgets such as therapy robots yet they use videotapes labelled with those awesome label maker labels. Remember those?! You’re all too young. We had one like the one below. I want one again! I also want a therapy robot…


The characters are also stuck in the past: the men are male chauvinists, especially the male captain (Patrick Wilson) who is a closet homosexual & treats his new female co-captain (Liv Tyler) horribly as he feels threatened by her. The women are self-absorbed & catty and, of course, everyone smokes constantly. But it works well as everyone is a sympathetic character in their own way. Well, except for the mother of the young girl – I wanted to punch that woman… The characters played by Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, and the young girl playing Bomer’s daughter (Kylie Rogers) make up for the less likeable characters, though. I have to say that I’ve never noticed Bomer before & that I only knew him from that shitty Magic Mike movie but he’s absolutely adorable in this. It helps that he’s the only male character who isn’t a pig (although he does like to listen to Todd Rundgren while fantasizing about a naked Playboy model played by Anna Sophia Berglund. There – I’ve named her so that should get me some pervy Google views. But I won’t post the full frontal nude images from the movie. Sorry, boys!).

This movie is hard to describe & I can understand the low ratings but those will mainly be due to it being watched by the wrong people. I hate when people say “you just don’t understand it” when talking about a movie as I think that sounds snobby as hell but, well… I think that’s the case with this movie. If you don’t love the Seventies and/or sci-fi films from that decade, I really can’t see you appreciating this one at all.

I have to say that, although Turbo Kid is fun and the one that I’d recommend, I actually think Space Station 76 did a better job of portraying a specific era & genre and I actually have more respect for this one. If I’m honest, I preferred it to Turbo Kid. It’s surprisingly sad at times & I found the stories involving Liv Tyler & the young girl especially heartbreaking. I’m not sure I was happy with the way the movie ended as we don’t get much of a resolution. However, I’ve never seen anything quite like this film and I like that. It’s different. They took a gamble with this movie and it certainly won’t work for everyone but I found it very unique and have thought about it a lot since seeing it. I’m glad I ignored the IMDB rating.

My Rating: 7/10

**Not gonna lie – I’m old & uncool so I loved the use of all the Todd Rundgren songs Space Station 76. I’m sure it was easy to get the rights with the Liv Tyler connection as he was her step-dad… Anyway, at least Daft Punk agree with me that Rundgren is cool! International Feel is used in this film and, as I said in my review of Daft Punk’s Electroma, they also prominently featured the song so I’m going to share that clip from Electroma (in Space Station 76, it plays while Bomer fantasizes about the naked Playboy model):

And, of course, they use Hello It’s Me – one of Rundgren’s most well-known songs:

The Help (2011) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Natasha of Life Of This City Girl. Thanks for the review, Natasha!:-) Now let’s see what she thought of The Help, IMDB rank 234 out of 250…

There are another 15 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Movie Review: The Help (2011)

Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Rating: 8.5/10

Hey, T9M readers! I’m reviewing The Help here today, because when I saw it was on T9M’s remaining movies to review for her IMDb Top 250 challenge I greedily claimed it as my own, seeing my chance to finally watch it.

I was surprised. Not only is The Help a really good film, it is also right up my alley and has stayed with me since I saw it.

What works well for this film first and foremost is a fantastic cast. To name a few, but certainly not limited to, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Allison Janney to Anna Camp all came to life as some form of a Southern Belle working to adjust to changing times.

The Help focuses on a time in America when things were changing. Women were entering the workforce, they were suddenly allowed to have bigger dreams than being barefoot and pregnant, and alongside that liberation came a movement where people realized that black people also had rights. Shocking, I know. Idiots. That’s where Skeeter Phelan comes in – she’s recently graduated and in look of making a name for herself. She moves back to Jacksonville, her home town that has not progressed with racial equality at all, and starts working a dead end job writing housekeeping tips for the local newspaper. Skeeter seeks to find the nanny who raised her, a woman whose disappearance makes her very worried – this is the woman that truly raised her, not her scatterbrained and often mean spirited mother. This leads her to embark on a project that records the tales of the black women who raise white children while their own sit at home.

In a very idealistic fashion, The Help isn’t particularly violent. I’m not a fan of gratuitous violence at all. There is a time and place for it and only in certain films, and I get upset especially when it involves minorities being beaten down. Django Unchained is pretty much the threshold for me, and let me tell you, as much as I love Tarantino, that film was almost too much to watch. The Help tells and accurately depicts inequality without making it an unnecessary blood fest nor a pity party, and yet you walk away feeling definitely disgusted with white ancestry. I saw that a lot of people did feel that the movie fancily glosses over the atrocities that happened and I do agree on that point though.

I liked the most that there were some genuinely sweet white people that offset the heinous racists that were also depicted. Jessica Chastain plays the particularly kind Cecilia Foote, who has been shunned because she’s just a bit too attractive and fun loving for Hilly Holbrook, excellently brought to life by Bryce Dallas Howard. Hilly is racist and underhanded, using her status in town to control everything– social events, treatment of staff and generally just getting her way in everything. The good tries to offset the bad, but it is still so obvious about how unjust the system was – I recently saw that it was a time period where it was finally acknowledged that black people deserved rights, just not quite as many as white people. I’m not going to go all swearing about this, because I am guest blogging here, but you can please include a number of profanities to gather my opinion about this.

Most of all, the end impressed me – things do not end perfectly for Phelan. After successfully publishing her novel, Phelan is shunned by many in town, including her boyfriend, but since he was a pompous, primitive prick from the very start I’m not feeling that she’s missing out on something special. It shows that actions have consequences, even when the action was required and did something good.

If you are looking for a film that accurately portrays inequality in the 1950’s, this probably isn’t for you. The Help is mostly feel good with some bad moments between, a very well-produced and acted out film for this. Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for this and it is well deserved – her sassy attitude is a scene stealer every single time. I’m likely to watch it again at some point, and am pretty glad that I took the time to watch this.

Thanks for having me lady!

Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin (Book Review)

At the end of the year, I did a post with mini-reviews of every book I read in 2015. I’m re-posting & adding to those short reviews of some of my favorites. Tuf Voyaging, my first George R.R. Martin book, was a close third-favorite after Ready Player One & The Martian. Here’s my updated review:

Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin

What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
Tuf Voyaging is a 1986 science fiction fix-up novel. It is a darkly comic meditation on environmentalism and absolute power. The novel concerns the (mis)adventures of Haviland Tuf, an exceptionally tall, bald, very pale, overweight, phlegmatic, vegetarian, cat-loving but otherwise solitary space trader. Due to the venality and cutthroat tactics of the party chartering his one-man trading vessel, Tuf inadvertently becomes master of Ark, an ancient, 30-kilometer-long “seedship”, a very powerful warship with advanced ecological engineering capabilities. Tuf travels the galaxy, offering his services to worlds with environmental problems, and sometimes imposing solutions of his own.

My Thoughts:

This is the first and only George R.R. Martin book I’ve ever read and I loved it! I got the Game Of Thrones book for Christmas 2014 but haven’t yet had the energy to embark on that massive journey. So when a woman I work with brought in a bunch of books that she was getting rid of, I was excited to see this standalone Martin book so I could see what his work was like.

I can only compare this to the Game Of Thrones TV show but I’d have to say it’s quite different from that. This is sci-fi comedy! I’ve read very few books in this genre but one happens to be my all-time favorite book (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) so this one was perfect for me and I enjoyed it immensely.

I’ll say that, although Martin’s books are clearly popular, I had no idea of what a great writer this guy really is and it has me definitely wanting to read more of his stuff. I’ll also admit this: I’m a casual reader & clearly like light & easy entertainment. My vocabulary is limited (as evidenced by my so-called “reviews”😉 ) and I’ve never had to look up so many words for their definitions while reading a book as I did while reading this. (Not tons, maybe six or seven words). But that’s awesome – I don’t have to do that with my YA books!

Martin truly has a great way with words and his characters (especially Tuf) felt so alive. And it was actually funny! After watching Game Of Thrones, full of so much tragic death, I wasn’t sure what to expect of a sci-fi comedy from the same author. Plus the story itself had me hooked. Loved it. Can anyone recommend any of his other work?

More Thoughts On Tuf Voyaging:

That was all my initial mini-review but I’ve read up on this book a bit now & would like to add a little more. First of all, I had to look up what a “fix-up” novel was. Ah HA! This book is actually a collection of previously published stories about Haviland Tuf (and his voyages) all brought together into one novel. That makes sense as, yes, it’s a series of several stories involving the character of Tuf but it didn’t feel at all weird while reading it as they all tie together nicely. I actually really liked that there were several stories, meaning that everyone reading it will have different favorites. Luckily, what I liked most was a story they kept coming back to as it had the strongest character (other than Haviland Tuf) and it was fun to watch their relationship develop. 

Speaking of Haviland Tuf, he’s such a well-developed character and I can still picture exactly how I saw him in my mind. He reminded me of how strong the characters are in the Game Of Thrones TV show so apparently Martin is fantastic when it comes to character development. Tuf changes quite a bit through the novel but his odd quirks (and love for his cats and no one else) were a lot fun. I found it funny to read the following tidbit at Wikipedia as this Game Of Thrones actor was indeed the EXACT person I pictured the entire time I was reading Tuf Voyaging:

“In a February 2013 post, Martin wrote on his website that, from time to time, he is asked by fans about writing more Tuf stories; he continued, saying that he hopes to do so again someday. He also hinted that he thought Irish actor Conleth Hill, who plays Varys on HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on his bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, would be a good choice to play Tuf for a pay cable TV series.”

I’d love to see this made into a TV series! And the guy playing Varys is the perfect choice.:-)

Well, I struggle with book reviews so I probably haven’t done this justice but I do hope some of you will check this one out if it sounds like the sort of genre that interests you. It’s not a book I’d go around recommending to everyone as it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s a little silly & bizarre at times but that’s why it was so enjoyable. Plus, it’s hard to not like Haviland Tuf by the end even though he’s truly awkward when it comes to interacting with people. It touches on some quite deep themes so it’s not as silly as it seems on the surface but it was nice to get a break from all the dreariness in Game Of Thrones

My Rating: 4.5/5

Music Video Friday: Moby – In This World

This week’s video for Music Video Friday is Moby’s In This World.

Is it cool to like Moby? Was it ever cool to like Moby? I don’t know (or care). He has a lot of fantastic songs. I especially love Porcelain & South Side with Gwen Stefani and, of course, the absolutely brilliant God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters from the end of the movie Heat (I can’t imagine any movie blogger not loving that).

In This World is from Moby’s 2002 album 18. It’s a great song but even greater video. This video couldn’t be more “me”. I must have had the biggest smile on my face the first time I saw these adorable little aliens just trying to be noticed on this crazy planet called Earth. I wanted to shout “Hi!” and give them all a big hug.

I suppose this video has a great message about how our lives are so hectic that we so easily miss all the special, little things in life (wasn’t that also the message in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?!). Well, message or not, I just love these little alien dudes. If I ever get around to doing a list of My Top Ten Music Videos, I can’t imagine this not being in the list.:-)

My Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies

Happy (belated) Birthday to Patricia Arquette, who turned 48 on April 8th.

I’ve always liked Patricia Arquette (and I loved her Oscar speech when she won for Boyhood!) but I’ve not seen many of her films. In fact, I started this post thinking I’d seen ten but, unfortunately, my math skills are shit & I’ve only seen nine. Oops. I must have counted Uncle Buck, which I was thinking of cheekily adding to this list as she apparently did “Additional Voices” for that. Well, to make this a Top Ten, I’ll have to include it anyway!

It’s fun (and easy) to do these actor top tens. I sometimes feel like I can’t do a list until I’ve seen ALL of someone’s work but that’s an impossible task. I don’t think I’ve seen every single movie from any one actor. So I figure, hey, I can update these lists anytime I watch a certain movie from an actor. So the next time I watch a Patricia Arquette movie, I’ll take Uncle Buck off this list.😉 I should add that I loved her TV show Medium! But, yeah, that’s TV so won’t be included (although I have included an obscure TV movie that I saw years ago).

Anyway, here are My Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies, counting down to my favorite movie (not ranked by performance):

10. Little Nicky (ugh)

9. Betrayed By Love

8. Nightwatch

7. Stigmata

6. Holes

5. Boyhood

4. True Romance

3. Uncle Buck😉

2. Ed Wood

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Yeah! Dream Warriors is AWESOME!!! First thing I saw her in and still my favorite of hers by far.

More That I Do Want To See:

Lost Highway
Bringing Out The Dead
Fast Food Nation (I can’t believe I’ve not watched this Richard Linklater film yet)

And last but certainly not least:

– Prayer Of The Rollerboys

What on Earth is this epically, beautifully, horrible-looking movie starring Corey Haim and how have I never heard of a 1990 movie starring both Haim & Arquette?! This looks fantastically awful! I must see this shit!!! Here’s the synopsis from IMDB:

Set in an unspecified time in the future, USA has declined and become a country of violence and racial prejudice. Griffin earns his living delivering pizzas while he tries to take care of his little brother. An old friend of his, Gary Lee, is the leader of a gang with big ambitions, the Rollerboys. Gary joins them to help the police keep track of the gang.

YES! That sounds f*%#ing great!!! Here’s the back cover:

Arquette looks like some sexy clown/mime thing. I must see this. It’s not available (I already looked). Damn!! Although, it looks like I may be able to watch it in chunks on YouTube. Hmm… There’s my weekend all planned out! I’m sure Uncle Buck is still a far better movie, though.😉

Midnight Special (2016) Review

Midnight Special (2016)

Directed & Written by Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers.

My Opinion:

***I’ll remain spoiler-free. This is a good one to see without knowing much about it.

Once again, like when I reviewed 10 Cloverfield Lane, I’m reviewing this sooner than I’d like to as I normally like to wait a couple of days. But I only finished watching this a few hours ago so bear with me for another one of my rambling reviews while I try to sort out my initial thoughts on Midnight Special.

I couldn’t wait to see this one – it was one of my most-anticipated for the whole year. It’s my favorite sort of genre & sounded like the exact sort of thing that I love. And it’s good! It really is. Luckily, it’s far better than 10 Cloverfield Lane (for which I still haven’t fully sorted out my feelings – I either really liked it or I really did not… I’ve never felt quite so confused over my feelings for a movie!). Anyway, I think I just hype certain movies up in my mind too much as so many are so disappointing that when one my sort of thing comes along, I expect too much. I liked this a lot. I expected to love it. I think I loved parts of it but, overall, I’m not sure it will be an all-time favorite such as the brilliant films it’s reminiscent of (such as Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial or Close Encounters Of The Third Kind).

Don’t worry – I won’t say a thing at all about the plot. I think it’s widely known that there’s a sci-fi element to this film anyway but my comparison to those two Spielberg films are more because of Midnight Special’s tone & feel as well as its focus on the characters and their relationships. That’s what I care most about in a film. Yes, I love a great story (especially anything the slightest bit sci-fi) but I never really love a film unless it has strong characters that I care about. While I didn’t fully connect with the characters in Midnight Special as much as I was hoping, I do think the movie did a really good job with those who mattered the most in the film. The father/son relationship is the strongest and, luckily, is what works best as it’s the main focus of the film. I certainly can’t fault Shannon’s performance as a father who will do anything to protect his child. I guess I was just hoping for more of an emotional attachment, like I got with something like E.T. but, hell, to even have your movie bring Spielberg classics to mind is a pretty huge compliment to Jeff Nichols. Yes, this movie very much feels like something Spielberg would have made in his Close Encounters sort of days. That’s a very good thing. In fact, I wonder what he thinks of this movie! Hmm… I would imagine he loves it.

Jeff Nichols is certainly a writer/director I’ll be paying more attention to after this film. I did review both Take Shelter & Mud and it was interesting re-reading those to see what I thought of them. Seriously, though – don’t read my Take Shelter review as I’d only had this blog for two weeks at that point & didn’t even know why I’d started a blog. Basically, I was clearly paying very little attention to the movie as it was on in the background while I decorated the Christmas tree (I’m a parent – you’ll find you half-watch a lot of things when you get some rare “alone time”).😉 Maybe I’ll give it another try someday but it was one of those films I think I appreciated more than actively liked. Shannon was good, though, as was the film’s theme plus I remember thinking the ending was very good. Mud was an improvement overall in that the film was a more enjoyable & entertaining watch but, now that I think about it more, I think Take Shelter had the far stronger story. I guess it depends on what you prefer from a movie but, if you liked both of those films, you’ll definitely like Midnight Special as it feels like Nichols got a better balance this time between making a good story as well as an entertaining film. Plus, I gotta say the ending is great. It can often go so wrong at the end with this type of thing but I was happy with this film’s finale.

I’m going to wrap this up before I ramble on too much or start spoiling things. Besides, I have a massive migraine & need to go to bed. Damn migraines! When it’s gone, I’ll hopefully be able to catch up on some of your Midnight Special reviews as I wanted to avoid them all until I’d seen it but I really am curious what you all thought of it. Plus, I keep wanting to call this Midnight Express… Anyone seen that? I’ve always wanted to see that but never have. Now I’m off topic. I can’t think when I have a headache.

Midnight Special is very good. I liked it a lot but only time will tell if I feel the same way about it as I do about some of Spielberg’s sci-fi classics that have a similar feel. I’ll say that, partially because of the Dunst connection, I was also reminded somewhat of Melancholia (which I liked quite a bit). I suppose Jeff Nichols is somewhere in the middle – not as weird as Lars von Trier but not as mainstream as Steven Spielberg. It’s a cool combination but I’m not sure if it’ll work for everyone. It worked for me and I’d like to see Nichols do more of this same genre.

My Rating: 8/10

Black Swan (2010) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Jia Wei of Film & Nuance. Thanks for the review, Jia Wei!:-) Now let’s hear his thoughts on Black Swan, IMDB rank 177 out of 250 on 01/01/13…

There are another 15 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Black Swan: Reveries and desires

Ask me to name a list of movies that have profoundly disturbed me for the longest time and you will find Black Swan gracing the very top; Oh you know because swans are graceful and all. Did you find that funny? Because that’s the only funny thing you’ll see from this review and from the movie. Darren Aronofsky’s dark reverie of a film proliferates ideas of duality, the yin-yang of human nature and it’s inherent dichotomies between good and evil. An opening shot of Black Swan is a memorable dance sequence involving Natalie Portman’ as she performs the Swan Lake where the princess Odette is cursed and transfigured into a swan by the devilish Rothbart. It is hauntingly choreographed by Aronofsky whose brilliance we see throughout the film. What’s particularly symbolic here is how the ‘swan’ persona, which becomes the crucial metaphor throughout the film, is at once both graceful and cursed; A little something to note when interpreting the film. Black Swan is like art that slowly unwraps itself with every deliberate attempt to shock and traumatize, revealing the tragic poise it so gracefully holds.

Aronofsky is definitely the artist who isn’t afraid to show. In fact, his philosophy here is that if he could expose everything, he would. Psychological elements flood the film till the point where truth and reality are bent to fit the style. Potraits would come alive (think sinister version of Harry Potter talking paintings) and mock Nina’s increasingly blurry perception. Hallucinations allow Aronofsky to feed the emotional conflict and mental delusions. Black Swan is not for the faint of heart because around every dark corner lie monsters of the mind.

Black Swan’s methods may be extremely explicit but it’s themes are cuttingly profound. Some call it a passionate melodrama which I think doesn’t do the film justice. Melodrama connotates dragging…the kind of dragging that irritates but sure perhaps it’s also artistic. I beg to differ. For as much as Black Swan has deliberated it’s hypnotic sequences and emotional conflicts, it has also haunted my senses and heightened my anticipation for the tension that would ensure. That alone is enough to dispel the idea that it’s a tedious and melodramatic affair. Yes, it’s hyperactive and yes it’s visually unrestrained but damn, it’s one hell of a movie.

In my view, Friedrich Nietzche’s book on philosophy titled ‘The Birth Of A Tragedy’ is somewhat linked to the film in the sense that Black Swan’s interpretation lie in the way that nature and tragedy are set up to be. To be fair, there will be endless interpretations of the film and mine is just one out of many. But I think that in order to fully appreciate the beauty in what Natalie Portman has portrayed in Nina is essential. It is only through her flaws that I also see her complete beauty and only through the film’s depressing moments do I appreciate the fixed balance dichotomy between light and darkness, desire and repression, id and ego. Black Swan’s entrancing dance sequences relates somewhat to Nietzsche’s notes on greek tragedy and music; Notice how the ballads in the film rise and fall periodically, with crescendos and dimineundos that mirror Nina’s oscillating state of mind. Natalie Portman and her double do well to convey the the polar opposites of effeminate grace and unbridled release that torment Nina during her performances. She battles not her inner demons but her conflicted nature. I read that Aronofsky had many takes and rehearsals for his dance sequences. It’s no wonder that he was able to surface the raging tempest of the mind so well. Everything from flawless acting to musical lyricism to contrasting imageries of black and white pour out in perfect yet painful harmony. As each dance progressively becomes more challenging and demanding, so too do the lines between the black and white swan.

What is more powerful than pleasing the audience? Shocking them. I’m inclined to name a few more films like Under the skin and Mulholland Drive. It might just be my taste but there’s no point shocking someone without telling them why. Though the abovementioned films have got me jumping right out of my seat, Black Swan does it with brutal simplicity. It’s not abstract which is why I like it so so much. You don’t spend time wrecking your head thinking why Nina did this or that and instead are left to mull over the lasting consequences of the character’s actions. Black Swan’s may range from being a psycho-sexual study to a director’s symphonic masterpiece, but in the end, it’s destructive melancholy is a psychedelic look at our unresolved natures.

P.S. This was my second best movie of 2010 behind Inception. The Social Network is third. And The King’s Speech is nowhere to be seen😉

Kung Fu Panda 3, The House Of Magic, Rio 2 & Muppets Most Wanted Movie Reviews

I have four quickie kids’ film reviews for you today! I promise they’ll be quick. Why? Because I barely remember three of them.

I’ve just seen Kung Fu Panda 3 so that review will be a little longer than the rest. You see, I get a little annoyed when I look at the pages on my blog & see that I still have some movies that I watched but never reviewed on the 2014 page & the 2015 page (never mind the 2016 page! I’m way behind). It’s especially annoying that the only movies that I actually went to the cinema to see but then didn’t review were these three 2014 kids’ movies. They were so “meh” that I guess I couldn’t be bothered.

So, here we go! I’ll finally say something about them two years later. I’m limiting myself to one paragraph each for the three older ones (plus my kid’s opinion on each). But let’s start with the longer review for the most current film (and by far the best of the four)…

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, J. K. Simmons, James Hong, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson

From: DreamWorks Animation

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

My Opinion:

I actually thought this movie was really good. As far as DreamWorks movies go, at least. I’ve stated here before how I see DreamWorks movies as strictly kids’ films while I view Pixar & most Disney ones as just being great films overall for every age group. Like, I wouldn’t feel weird discussing both WALL-E & Citizen Kane in the same breath. Except, I’ve not seen Citizen Kane… Never mind.

What I liked about Kung Fu Panda 3 is that, while it has a message as does every kids’ movie, it didn’t let the message get in the way of the movie being fun and actually making kids laugh. The previous movie we went to as a family was Disney’s Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) & I did NOT expect to think a DreamWorks film was far better than a Disney one! But that’s the case this time.

Kung Fu Panda 3 hasn’t forgotten that, first & foremost, it’s meant to be aimed at kids. I felt that Zootropolis completely forgot this while trying to drive its message home with a convoluted plot and uninteresting characters. But Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t dumbed down for kids, either, which is a big pet peeve of mine. Kids aren’t stupid & shouldn’t be treated that way. The jokes were all age-appropriate without being dumb but also not being too grown-up like things such as the Godfather references in Zootropolis.

I have to admit that Kung Fu Panda 3 was even enjoyable to me as an adult who probably wouldn’t watch many animated films not made by Disney or Pixar if I didn’t have a kid. I do love Jack Black (I don’t care about the haters!) and think he’s been perfect as Po in all these films. I think all the characters are strong & really like the setting and the look. In this one, the baby pandas are adorable & even had grumpy me going “aww”. The baddie in this one was also pretty cool, as were his storyline & all the chi stuff. Plus I’m a sucker for the color green. Here’s the baddie:

I’d even go so far as to say that I like the Kung Fu Panda movies the most out of all the ones made by DreamWorks. I find Shrek a little overrated and I’d say that the How To Train Your Dragon films are possibly their “best” work but they’ve never really clicked with me at all (or the kid). But all three of us have enjoyed each of the three Kung Fu Panda movies.

My Rating: 7/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She liked this movie a lot & giggled through the whole thing. She was far more enthusiastic about this one than she was after walking out of Zootropolis, which she called “not very good”. Her favorite part was Po doing his “chitty chitty chat chat” thing that she’s been annoying us with ever since (thanks a lot, Jack Black!). She also loved the baby pandas, especially when they ate everything in sight. She’s not watched the first two films since we went to see them but this one has renewed her interest (and mine!) in watching those again. I’d happily pick them up on DVD now – I think this is a very solid trilogy from DreamWorks.

The House Of Magic (2013) (US Title: Thunder And The House Of Magic)

Directed by Jeremy Degruson & Ben Stassen

Starring: Cinda Adams, George Babbit, Murray Blue, Kathleen Browers, Joey Camen, Grant George, Shanelle Gray, Nina Grillo, Kyle Hebert

From: nWave Pictures, StudioCanal

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The House of Magic is a 2013 3D Belgian-French computer-animated fantasy-comedy film. The film focuses on an abandoned young cat who seeks shelter in the home of an old, retired magician with his automatons and gizmos.

My Opinion:

I admit to not fully remembering the plot of this strange little Belgian/French film (which was in English but I assume originally in French?) two years later. But I clearly remember the kind old magician, the cat he adopts, and the man’s REALLY cool magical toys (automatons and gizmos) such as that adorable lightbulb dude in the photo at the very top of this post. I also remember some great songs being used quite prominently (The Lovecats by The Cure & the always catchy House Of Fun by Madness). It’s not some big Disney, DreamWorks, etc production and that does show but I still thought that the characters, the music, and especially those inventive toys were pretty damn good! I wonder if those who made this have gone on to do more animated films? I’d like to see this sort of thing with a bigger budget. It’s a very sweet & charming film from what I remember. I wouldn’t complain at being made to watch it again.

My Rating: 6/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She doesn’t now remember much of this but does remember all those really cool toys that I mentioned above. She said she’d like to watch it again too (fine with me – I’ll pick up the DVD if I see it).

Rio 2 (2014)

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy García, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx

From: Blue Sky Studios

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law.

My Opinion:

Wow. I really remember very little of this except that I think it was about saving the rainforest, right? I don’t remember the first one either – I only know that these Rio movies are very bright & colorful and have some big musical numbers that are okay. This is from Blue Sky, whose movies are quite similar to DreamWorks in that I see them strictly as films aimed at kids and only truly enjoyed by kids. The only Blue Sky one I really liked was The Peanuts Movie but that’s because I’m obsessed with Peanuts & the movie stayed very true to its spirit. Don’t get me wrong – these Rio movies aren’t bad. They’re very pretty to look at & not the worst way to spend a couple of hours with your kid but I don’t think they’re very memorable. I’d have to say that the Ice Age films are a stronger series from this studio as the characters are better. Also, could they get a more annoying set of voice actors for Rio? Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann & Kristin Chenoweth(!!)?? Ugh. I think I remember Eisenberg’s bird kids in this being quite cute, though…

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She says she liked this although she couldn’t remember the specifics of it now. She said “I liked the pink frog!” (Ugh. Kristin Chenoweth.) I think it’s proof that the Rio films are pretty & enjoyable enough while being watched but are ultimately forgettable.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Directed by James Bobin

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, The Muppets

From: Walt Disney Pictures

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

My Opinion:

I grew up with The Muppet Show so I of course love The Muppets. Who doesn’t?! The Muppets movie in 2011 (2012 here) was pretty good. It was fun and managed to kind of capture the spirit of the original show (plus I like Amy Adams). But I found Muppets Most Wanted really disappointing even though it was great, as always, to see these beloved characters. The problem was the messy, boring story and the fact that I really didn’t like the main real-life stars. Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell & Tina Fey? How do you go from Amy Adams to some TV stars? Never been a fan of any of them (in fact, who is Ty Burrell anyway? That prick in Dawn Of The Dead??). I just think they made a real mess of this movie – I’ll stick to watching my DVDs of the original show.

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She remembers this one more than I thought she would! She remembers the plot & the evil Kermit with the mole. She likes The Muppets & says she liked this movie. Maybe I should give it another try…

This is her favorite Muppet-related thing. I agree:

**I’d like to finally take this opportunity to draw attention to a favorite blogger of mine here who does fantastic paintings of The Muppets (and loads of other awesome artwork with a focus on pop culture – but I first started following him because of The Muppets). Please have a look at Scott’s site at Mojoswork.com. You can see all his Muppets artwork HERE.

Scott – I’m sorry it took me two years to finally get around to doing this review! Let me know if you want me to add any more info or if you want me to include a specific Muppets image you’ve done.:-) Oh! Scott does a lot of wrestling & sports stuff as well and I thought his History Of The WWF was absolutely amazing despite knowing nothing of that sort of thing myself (MIB – you should really check this out).

I figure I should end this with some Madness since I have House Of Fun in my head after talking about The House Of Magic. I miss this era of music!

The Conversation (1974) Review

It’s the final day of Coppola Week at Cinema Parrot Disco & I’ll be finishing with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. I’ve also reviewed his movie The Outsiders and his daughter Sofia’s movies The Bling Ring & Marie Antoinette. Yesterday, I ranked their films in a list of My Top Ten Coppola Movies.

Now let’s talk about The Conversation, which is one that doesn’t seem to get mentioned that much but is really quite good…

The Conversation (1974)

Directed & Written by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Michael Higgins, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Teri Garr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.

My Opinion:

First of all, let’s face it: I suck at writing “movie reviews”.😉 I’ll remain spoiler free for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie but for those who have, you’re much better off reading this article HERE than my ramblings below. It’s Francis Ford Coppola being interviewed by fellow filmmaker Brian De Palma about the making of The Conversation. It’s a really interesting read considering it’s a conversation between two respected directors. Damn – Francis Ford Coppola doesn’t totally love Alfred Hitchcock movies, though!

I can see where Hitchcock comparisons were made in the above article as the plot of this movie certainly has a Hitchcock feel to it, which is probably why I enjoyed the story since I love Hitchcock’s films. As also pointed out in that article, its story is somewhat similar to the 1966 film Blow-Up but has a conversation being listened to over & over again that takes on new meaning instead of a photograph as in that film? Maybe – I did see Blow-Up a very long time ago but remember very little now. I should watch it again!

The Conversation is very good and I even prefer it to Apocalypse Now but I’ll admit that I also found it a little slow & dated. The opening scene was absolutely brilliant, in which Cindy “Shirley” Williams & the man in the above picture (not the stupid mime – the other guy) are being “listened to” & recorded by surveillance expert Gene Hackman as they walk around a loud & crowded Union Square in San Francisco.

One of the biggest strengths of this film is, surprisingly, Gene Hackman as the surveillance expert who has been hired to spy on this couple but becomes increasingly concerned with what he fears the outcome will be as a previous surveillance job resulted in people being murdered. I don’t mean to be rude about Hackman – it’s just that he’s one of these old male actors who has been around for years but I’ve never really “noticed” him all that much. He’s great in this role, though! His job has led him to be extremely secretive, paranoid, and obsessed with his own privacy. Or perhaps he was this way to begin with, which is how he ended up in a job which would result in him living a very lonely life? Either way, it means he’s unable to form any close relationships as he doesn’t trust anyone, which we see in the way he interacts with colleagues and especially with his lover (played by Teri Garr). Oh! Oh!! And I read that, basically, Hackman is playing this same character again in Enemy Of The State with Will Smith?? I mean, not the actual same character but one very similar. I wonder if that was intentional? I guess I need to watch that one again as well as Blow-Up! Anyway: Bravo to Hackman in this film.

You know who else is in this movie? Harrison Ford!!! It makes for a nice little American Graffiti connection with Cindy Williams. But he doesn’t have a huge role. Luckily. Because, um, his acting is a little dodgy… I mean, it was still very early in his career so who cares if his acting was a little “off” – the dude is Indiana Jones & Han Freaking Solo! Look at him – so damn handsome:

Summary:

I know I haven’t seen all of Francis Ford Coppola’s films but The Conversation is a very good piece of filmmaking that I suppose gets somewhat unfairly ignored as it came out in between The Godfather & The Godfather: Part II. It’s slow & subtle and not some “grand epic” like those but the mystery involving the couple Hackman is spying on had me intrigued and Hackman’s performance deserves special recognition. I forgot to mention during my review yet another movie this one reminded me of: the absolutely brilliant German film The Lives Of Others. The Conversation isn’t quite as good as that one nor as good as its Hitchcock comparisons but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good “mystery thriller” with a great central performance. Don’t let my score slightly put you off as I rate mainly according to my own personal enjoyment & this one did drag a bit in the middle. If I was basing this only on worthiness, I’d give The Conversation a slightly higher rating. 

My Rating: 7/10

Since I couldn’t help but think of Laverne & Shirley anytime Cindy Williams was on the screen, here’s one of the many excellent clips from my beloved Wayne’s World. Zang!😉

My Top Ten Coppola Movies

Happy Birthday to Francis Ford Coppola, who turns 77 today.

This is a part of my Coppola Week. I’ve been reviewing movies directed by Francis Ford Coppola & his daughter Sofia (ones that I’ve seen for the first time this past year). So far, I’ve reviewed The Bling Ring, The Outsiders & Marie Antoinette.

I was going to make this a Top Ten including all of the members of the Coppola family who are in the movie industry but, after looking into how many that would involve, I decided it would be a pain in the ass! Besides, I’ve already done My Top Ten Nicolas Cage Movies HERE. I’ve also never seen the Rocky movies, so there’s no point including Talia Shire. And Jason Schwartzman is mainly in those Wes Anderson movies I can’t stand so screw that. And then there are loads of other family members who do lots of behind-the-scenes stuff such as cinematography so, after researching the Coppola family more than my own ancestry, I decided to make this a list including only Francis Ford & Sofia.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Directed By Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola, counting down to my favorite:

**(Okay, I’ve seen a total of thirteen so here are 11, 12 & 13):
13. Jack
12. Somewhere
11. Peggy Sue Got Married

10. Dracula

9. The Bling Ring

8. Marie Antoinette

7. Apocalypse Now

6. The Conversation

5. The Virgin Suicides

4. The Outsiders

3. Lost In Translation

2. The Godfather: Part II

1. The Godfather

FYI: If they’re not listed, I’ve not seen them. No, I never even bothered to watch The Godfather: Part III. The one I really need to see is Rumble Fish now that I’ve finally watched The Outsiders…! 

I’ll finish Coppola Week tomorrow with a review of The Conversation.

**I recently participated in Ruth from FlixChatter’s Five For The Fifth, in which she asks fellow bloggers five movie or TV-related questions. The fifth question is from a guest blogger & I was this month’s guest with the question “Which character would you most like to see killed off in a current TV show?“. I chose this question knowing I’d be seeing The Walking Dead season finale the next day & now I’d really love to bitch about that ending with fellow bloggers!! Grrr. Have a look at Ruth’s Five For The Fifth post HERE. Thanks again, Ruth!:-)

Marie Antoinette (2006) Review

It’s Day 3 of Coppola Week & I’ll be reviewing Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. I reviewed her film The Bling Ring on Monday and her father’s 80’s classic The Outsiders yesterday. Tomorrow will, as usual, be a Top Ten List (My Top Ten Coppola Movies, of course) and I’ll finish on Friday with a review of a 1974 film from Francis Ford Coppola. Now let’s talk about the lovely Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Based on Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen and ultimately the fall of Versailles.

My Opinion:

It feels like I’d been wanting to see this movie for years. But as fellow movie bloggers will understand, I have a huge “To Watch” list & this one just kept getting put aside. I finally got up off my ass & watched it in preparation for a week of Coppola reviews when I realized that I’d already watched a few Coppola movies by coincidence. Well, damn… I think that I hyped it up too much in my mind while it sat on my To Watch list all these years. For the most part, I’m afraid to say that I found Marie Antoinette a bit boring.

There were three reasons why I really wanted to see this: 1) I think Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation & The Virgin Suicides are quite beautiful & brilliant and this appeared to have a similar look & feel. 2) It looked visually appealing from pictures I’d seen. 3) Coppola often chooses great music, such as the amazing Air score for The Virgin Suicides, so I was eager to hear what was on the soundtrack for this. 

Well, I can confirm that this was indeed visually appealing and I really liked that about it. The costumes, the castle, all that CAKE! So I have no complaints there. I also liked Kirsten Dunst just fine – she’s not a favorite of mine but I’ve always liked her okay (although I assume she’s nothing like the real Marie Antoinette! Her Virgin Suicides role was more fitting). Sofia Coppola really has a thing for the female butt, though, doesn’t she? Didn’t Lost In Translation start with a shot of Scarlett Johansson’s butt? Well, you see Dunst naked from behind as she’s dressed to meet her future husband then you see plenty of her throughout the film as everyone gathers around to dress her every morning. Is that what they did with royalty in the old days? No thank you! I like my privacy.

As for the soundtrack, Coppola once again chose some great music. I’ll never complain about hearing The Cure or New Order! But, for some reason, I guess I thought we’d hear much more of the music. It’s mostly prominent in a couple of montages but, scattered throughout, I didn’t notice it all that much. It’s a small complaint – I think I was expecting loads of modern(ish) songs set in a time period from the past but, hey, this isn’t some Baz Luhrmann film. I prefer Coppola’s films to his anyway so I suppose I prefer the way she used the music. This would certainly be a good soundtrack to own.

I’ll admit that my knowledge of history is crap so I won’t pretend to know a thing about Marie Antoinette (or about any history – it’s not a subject that has ever interested me for some reason). I have zero clue how accurate this movie is meant to be. I mean, I’m pretty sure Marie Antoinette wasn’t a cute blonde American girl and that everyone in France spoke English, right?! I take it that this film is just meant to be a bit of fun and that Sofia really just wanted an excuse to play with pretty dresses, powdered wigs, and cake.

I found it interesting if the basic storyline is accurate, though. I did read a (tiny) bit about Marie Antoinette after watching the movie & the broad, overall story does sound correct. I was expecting a dumb & slightly annoying character as that’s how the real Marie Antoinette is portrayed somewhat with the “Let them eat cake” quote but that’s not at all how she’s portrayed in this film. She’s young & a bit naive but mostly is a “little girl lost” just doing as she’s told in her arranged marriage. In the film, she’s also unfairly hated by the general public and used as a sort of symbol for their negative feelings toward the monarchy. From the little I read of the real woman, this was true. I was also surprised to read that there is no evidence that she ever actually said “Let them eat cake” and that it’s very unlikely that she did. Talk about unfair!

Hey, maybe I’ll actually try to find some Marie Antoinette documentary to watch now. If you’re looking for that sort of thing, though, you probably wouldn’t watch Coppola’s film. I didn’t watch it for a history lesson – I watched it for the imagery & the soundtrack and I think that’s the whole reason it was made, with the Marie Antoinette story just happening to be the film’s backdrop. With that in mind, it was an enjoyable enough film & Coppola once again did a great job with the look & sound but it didn’t stop it from ultimately being a bit boring and feeling far longer than its actual runtime of just over two hours. I’m glad I saw Marie Antoinette and I liked it okay. I was just a little disappointed as I wanted to love it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

CAKE!!!!!!!!

This is a good montage to watch if you want to get a feel for this movie. It features Bow Wow Wow’s I Want Candy:

And I have to include the New Order song, Ceremony, which is used in the film. Because I LOVE it:

The Outsiders (1983) Review

Welcome to Day 2 of Coppola Week, in which I’ll be reviewing four movies I saw recently directed by Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola. Yesterday I reviewed Sofia’s The Bling Ring (it wasn’t my favorite). So now I’m reviewing one from her father (it’s easily my favorite of the four I’ll be discussing). Let’s talk about The Outsiders!:-)

The Outsiders (1983)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

My Opinion:

I still can’t quite believe that I had never read The Outsiders or watched the movie until recently, especially as the movie contains so many well known actors from my generation. I should have had a crush on every single one of them! None of them were really favorites of mine, though. The only one I’d have possibly had a crush on was the one who kind of went on to do the least after The Outsiders – C. Thomas Howell, which is weird as he’s the main star of this one. He was pretty cute! And pretty hot now. I like how he keeps popping up in small roles in things like The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, he did star in Soul Man… Bet he’s not thrilled about that one now!

Sorry to go on about “cute boys” but I was just pointing out that I’m not sure why I never saw this. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it (it was my second favorite book read in 2014). It’s less surprising that I never read it since I was never really encouraged to read much when I was younger (I’m glad I decided to become a reader anyway). I have to say that I was perfectly happy with the film and think it was a good & faithful adaptation. I was worried when I looked this up on IMDB as it has a really low “metascore” (which is a collection of reviews from critics) of 38 out of 100 while it has a respectable user rating of 7.2 out of 10. Are you kidding me on that metascore?? I didn’t actually read the critic reviews to see what their problem was with this movie. I don’t care. This is why I don’t read reviews from actual critics – I trust the opinions of us regular movie-loving bloggers more. I’m usually somewhere in between the metascore & user rating (user ratings are always WAY too high on current mainstream movies) but I agree with the user rating this time. It’s a good film, not a great film. But those who love the book and those who love the amazing assortment of hot young 80’s actors that Coppola got together for this will be big fans of the movie. I’m sure it’s a favorite film of some people my age & I’d possibly have the same nostalgia for it if I’d seen it around the same sort of time that I became obsessed with Stand By Me.

As for the acting, I can’t fault anyone. They all felt like genuine teenagers/early twentysomethings and fit the characters from the book very well. Although, knowing of the movie and who played who, I may have been picturing the actors as I read it. That’s why I hate reading a book after seeing its movie… I especially liked Ralph Macchio & C. Thomas Howell, who were the two most important characters to get right from the book. Patrick Swayze & Rob Lowe were also great as Howell’s protective older brothers. Yes! Even Rob Lowe was good!

I also loved seeing Diane Lane, with the most gorgeous shade of red hair, as I’ve become more of a fan of hers in recent years (this movie is pretty high on my list of My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies). It’s quite a small role as boys are very much the stars of this story but, hey, that’s how it was written. By a girl. Speaking of its author, S.E. Hinton, I still love that the book was written when she was only 16. I think that’s so impressive. Imagine a teenager today managing to do that! Or anything, really. Apparently, Hinton played a nurse in this. Cool! I didn’t even know that until looking at the credits for this review. Also, Sofia Coppola played a “Little Girl” and Heather Langenkamp(!) is listed but not given a character name so I have no idea where she was in the movie (okay – I did some Googling & her scenes from the drive-in movie part were deleted).

Hey – look at Patrick Swayze being all tough & sexy like he was in Road House! He’s gonna rip that guy’s throat out. Yes, I’m still obsessed with Road House after seeing it for the first time over Christmas. Road House!! I wish Sam Elliott had been in The Outsiders… That would’ve been awesome. 

Of course, Sam Elliott was too old to be in this as there are hardly any adults to be seen throughout the whole movie. That’s what’s so great about it – it was written by a teenager about teenagers, which is probably what helps make the characters feel so genuine and why so many young people have fallen in love with the book over the years. I totally understand the story’s appeal, even though I experienced it too late to appreciate it as much as I would have as a teenager. It’s one of the first true “young adult” books (back before the young adult genre was this huge thing with the somewhat bad reputation it has these days) so maybe that’s what some critics don’t like about it? I don’t know but it’s a classic story with some very rich characters and I’ll most definitely be passing the book onto my daughter to read as an early teen. Perhaps she’ll fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t fully able to at my age. And then we can watch the movie together! It’s one I’d definitely watch again sometime.:-)

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Bling Ring (2013) Review

Welcome to Coppola Week at Cinema Parrot Disco! I just so happened to watch several movies directed by both Francis Ford & Sofia Coppola in the past several months so I figured “What the hell – I might as well review them all in the same week and pretend I’m organized & shit and that I actually planned it that way!”. So, I set it for the week of Mr Coppola’s birthday (this coming Thursday).

Here we go! I’ll be reviewing two from each of them this week. Oh, and don’t go expecting big stuff like The Godfathers… I saw those years ago. These are all Coppola movies that I only saw for the very first time recently. Let’s start with a fairly recent one directed by Sofia:

The Bling Ring (2013)

Directed & Written by Sofia Coppola

Based on The Suspects Wore Louboutins by Nancy Jo Sales

Starring: Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

My Opinion:

This had a lot of potential as the true story is rather fascinating. This could’ve been a deep & meaningful piece exploring the worrying way in which so many teenagers today are extremely shallow & are overly obsessed with celebrities and with possessions. But it’s not! The film feels as shallow as its asshole teenagers and the asshole celebrities they stole enough designer handbags from to feed a small country. (With, like, the proceeds had they sold the handbags. I’m bad with words… You know what I mean!)

To be fair, I don’t think it’s really Sofia Coppola’s fault. I can see why she’d want to make a movie about this story but I think it’s quite hard to make a movie where every character is so completely hateful (I need to see The Hateful Eight to see if this statement is still true!). Well, okay – the one male involved in the robberies isn’t entirely hateful, which was was good since this movie desperately needed that one person who seemed human. But I have to say that Emma Watson must be a really good actress because I hated her character with a passion! Her character is the perfect example of everything that’s wrong with spoiled, self-obsessed Western youth.

As for the true story, I’ve not read the original article this movie is based on & not looked into the real people and how closely this movie portrayed things. I just don’t care enough to bother. It’s hard to really feel anything for anyone in this story. It’s basically about the “haves” stealing from the “have-even-mores”. I don’t know if this is how it really was but I got the impression that they were able to rob Paris Hilton more than once as, when you have hundreds of designer bags & shoes & pieces of jewelry, you don’t even notice when some go missing. That’s really quite sad. What these teenagers did was of course very wrong & a crime in need of punishment but, with all the horrible stuff going on in the world, no one is exactly going to cry over some celebrities having been robbed of a few possessions.

But despite the subject matter, I didn’t hate this movie. I guess I just wanted a little something more from it but it was interesting seeing just how easily these teenagers broke into these celebrity houses. You would think there would be loads of alarms, locks, etc! Never mind their possessions – aren’t celebrities worried about their personal safety? I’ll say that it seemed these teenagers broke into these houses, especially Paris Hilton’s which they kept going back to, just as much to hang out & get a taste of living the celebrity lifestyle as to steal things and that’s the only time I almost felt a little sorry for them & was reminded that they’re really just kids.

I think I was just disappointed as I really love Coppola’s Lost In Translation and think The Virgin Suicides is quite a beautiful work of art. Those films have so much style (and fantastic soundtracks! I love when Coppola puts a lot of effort into the music used in her movies). The Bling Ring just tells its story in a very straightforward way and feels much different from other Sofia Coppola movies I’ve seen. There’s nothing actually wrong with the film and I have to say I somewhat enjoyed watching it as, like the teenagers, I think a lot of us are at least a little fascinated with celebrities and the lifestyles they lead. Hey, I admit that I used to watch Cribs on MTV!😉 This movie is a bit like watching an episode of that, in a way, and I did like seeing inside the homes & wondered how close they made them to the actual homes that were robbed. Like, does Paris Hilton actually have her face plastered all over her walls & on her throw pillows?! Lol. Bizarre. I suppose I just can’t stand the type of people this movie portrays but, once it got past what felt like 45 minutes of the characters taking duckface selfies, the movie was half over anyway as it’s quite short. A shallow film about shallow people but worth watching if you’re interested in the story and bear in mind that you’re not going to get anything deep from it.

My Rating: 6/10

My Blog’s March 2016 Recap

I sometimes do a monthly blog recap, which I’ve been calling “My Blog’s (Month & Year) Stats“. That’s not fully accurate as I don’t post any viewing numbers or anything like that – I just talk about my posts through the month & some search terms. Also, I don’t like how I was only focusing on what movies I’d reviewed & not mentioning the ones I’d actually watched each month. I’m pretty quick on reviewing anything I go to in the cinema but can sometimes take several months to get around to reviewing some of the great movies that I watch at home.

So, I’m changing the title of my monthly recap to the truly creative “My Blog’s (Month & Year) Recap” as that’s more accurate. I love reading other monthly blog recaps as I have weeks where I don’t have time to read blogs & I end up missing stuff. I was inspired by monthly round-ups such as Ruth’s at Flixchatter and Badblokebob’s at 100 Films In A Year so I’ve created categories I’ll use every month and I’ll also talk about any plans I may have for my blog in the coming month.

So here’s My Blog’s March 2016 Recap:

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: My Top Ten Wooden Movie Actors/Characters – For some reason, I didn’t expect this to be my top-viewed post but people seemed to like my list of movie actors & characters who have the word “wood” somewhere in their names. You KNOW Mr Edward Woodward from the very top photo had to be my number one…

My Favorite Post: My Top Ten Period Dramas & My Top Ten Color Songs – My own personal favorite post, and second-most-viewed, was my top ten list of period (as in menstruation) scenes in movies. I’d like to thank the very few, brave male bloggers who actually commented on that one.😉 I also had a lot of fun compiling a top ten list of my favorite songs with colors in their titles (which was my third most popular post – maybe I should give up on reviewing movies & only make Top Ten Lists?!). But I love doing movie reviews and my favorite review in March was for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, which I’ll discuss next…

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – I finally reviewed my own IMDB Top 250 film instead of posting a guest review (they’ve dried up) and I’m very glad that I did. I had the most comments I’ve had on a movie review in ages, with a lot of discussion on this one. I love when that happens. It’s the whole reason I started a movie blog! I’m no “writer” and I’m well aware of this. I just like to chat about movies, especially when I see one that I truly appreciate. So thank you so much to everyone who stops by & leaves comments.:-)

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Natural Born Killers
Stories We Tell
The Kings Of Summer
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Boy
X+Y
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Zootropolis
Class Of 1999
Tank Girl
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans Of My Little Pony

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Boy
Zootropolis

At Home (ranked best to worst):
The Cat Returns
THX 1138
Phenomena
Audrey Rose
Love (my most-hated movie since starting this blog)

TOP TEN LISTS

Top Ten Hats In Movies
Top Ten Color Songs (as in, they have colors in their titles)
Top Ten Wooden Movie Actors/Characters (as in, they have “wood” in their names)
Top Ten Period Dramas (as in, menstruation scenes in movies)
Top Ten Movies With Different Titles Outside The U.S.

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “Minions names” – This comes up a lot and I have no idea why my blog would keep getting hits because of it as I don’t remember naming the minions (other than adorable Bob), but I did review the Minions movie HERE

My Favorite Search Term: “Barry Newman with naked girl” – As always, there were loads of pervy search terms and this one wasn’t even the perviest but I like when even I have to Google something to see why a search term brought someone to my blog. I was like “Who’s Barry Newman??”. Ah! He was the star of Vanishing Point, which I reviewed HERE. Which means someone was looking for the naked girl on the motorcycle in that film.

Here are my top search terms for March:

BOOKS

Books Reviewed:

Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett & Alan Martin

Book I’m Currently Reading: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which won a poll where I asked which book I should read next (you can still vote for the next one I should read HERE).

BLOG PLANS FOR APRIL

The only specific blog plan I have for April is Coppola Week, starting tomorrow. It’s Francis Ford Coppola’s birthday on Thursday & I happened to watch two of his & two of his daughter Sofia’s movies in the past several months, so I’ll review them all this week.

Other than that, I’ll try to focus on catching up on reviewing my own IMDB Top 250 films since I only have one guest review to post (reviewing The Good, The Bad And The Ugly was a good experience so it’s made me more determined to stop being so lazy with that project). I went all out on my Top Tens in March so April will be a little more lazy with some actor Top Tens for upcoming celebrity birthdays. 

As for upcoming movies, I don’t pay too much attention to release dates but I can’t WAIT to see Midnight Special this month. I’m also extremely desperate to see Everybody Wants Some!! but the UK doesn’t get it until the middle of MAY (don’t talk to me about that – I’m pretty pissed off!!).😦 Finally, I’ve been surprisingly good about reviewing one movie each month for my 2016 Blind Spot Series so I plan to watch & review True Romance for April.

Phew. That’s it! Happy April, everyone.:-)

Here’s my number one “Color Song”Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath:

Music Video Friday: Devo – Girl U Want

This week’s music video is Devo’s Girl U Want. Why this video? No reason, really – I’m just having a bit of a Tank Girl week with my review of the early comics (HERE) and of the inferior movie (HERE).

I wasn’t very happy with the film adaptation of the comic but I did like some of the music chosen for the soundtrack (although it still wasn’t perfect – they could’ve done better).

Devo aren’t exactly an all-time favorite band of mine but I do really like several of their songs (they did more than just Whip It, MovieRob!). I thought the cover version Devo did of this song (with singer Jula Bell) for the opening credits of Tank Girl was okay. Here’s the version in the credits:

You know I’m of course going to say that I prefer the original version of the song (which I do). However, I have to say that I NEVER saw the video before deciding to look it up to see if it even had a video that I could post in relation to my Mini-Tank-Girl-Week. It’s very dated but also very Devo. It’s really no better or worse than Whip It as far as dated 80’s music videos go, I guess.

Anyway, here’s the video. It’s worth a watch just to hear the song! I hope you all have a lovely weekend.:-)

My Top Ten Movies With Different Titles Outside The U.S.

With the release of (the hugely disappointing) Zootopia, being renamed Zootropolis in the UK & other parts of Europe, I’ve been thinking about all the movies with different titles in the US & the UK.

I understand the reason for some title changes, often due to different spellings or the name already being used for something else in another country. But some of the changes are just bizarre. With Zootopia, I believe it’s because it’s the name of some zoo that’s being opened soon in Europe?

I haven’t done much research into the reasons for the name changes in this list but I’ve put the reasons if I know them. And I’ll only be listing the titles in the United States & the United Kingdom as those are the ones I’m most aware of (I’ll start with the US title). As usual, I’ll just rank these according to what movies I like the most that happened to have different names in different countries.

So, counting down to my favorite movie, these are My Top Ten Movies With Different Titles Outside Of The United States:

10. Neighbors
UK Title: Bad Neighbours
Name I Prefer: Bad Neighbours
Why The Change?: Probably because of the Australian soap, Neighbours, which is shown on TV in the UK.

9. A Brilliant Young Mind
UK Title: X+Y
Name I Prefer: X+Y
Why The Change?: Not sure but the US title is closer to the name of the documentary the director made before making this movie.

8. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
UK Title: Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies
Name I Prefer: Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies
Why The Change?: Because White Castle isn’t a restaurant in the UK.

7. The Avengers
UK Title: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
Name I Prefer: The Avengers
Why The Change?: I read why somewhere but I’ve forgotten & don’t care enough to look it up again.😉

6. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone
UK Title: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone
Name I Prefer: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone
Why The Change?: I’m not sure but I think it had something to do with them thinking that Americans wouldn’t understand what a “Philosopher’s Stone” was. Stupid title change!

5. Joyride
UK Title: Roadkill
Name I Prefer: Joyride
Why The Change?: I think it’s because a “joyride” in the UK refers to when a car is stolen (often by young males) and then abandoned (and often set fire to) at the side of the road. The name Roadkill does actually make more sense for this movie… (which is a guilty pleasure of mine).

4. The Peanuts Movie
UK Title: Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
Name I Prefer: The Peanuts Movie
Why The Change?: I assume because Peanuts isn’t as well known in the UK but everyone knows who Charlie Brown and Snoopy are. Because Snoopy RULES.:-)

3. The Road Warrior
UK Title: Mad Max 2
Name I Prefer: Mad Max 2
Why The Change?: I believe because the first film didn’t get a wide release in the US so they didn’t want to promote this film as a sequel.

2. Breakin’ & Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
UK Title: Breakdance & Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo
Name I Prefer: Breakin’, I suppose
Why The Change?: No idea! Guess they just wanted to be more specific in the UK.

1. Adventures In Babysitting
UK Title: A Night On The Town
Name I Prefer: Adventures In Babysitting
Why The Change?: I have no idea but it appears to now have the US title in the UK. Both names aren’t great but A Night On The Town really sucks.

Some Other Title Changes:
These are all the movies I could think of but I found a list with more at Wikipedia if you’re interested. There are some funny ones I didn’t know about, like Bonnie And Clyde originally being called Bonnie And Clyde…Were Killers! in the UK.

US: Zootopia UK: Zootropolis

US: Perfect Catch UK: Fever Pitch

US: Pirate Radio UK: The Boat That Rocked

US: Dead Alive UK: Braindead

US: Tomorrowland UK: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond

US: Reindeer Games UK: Deception

US: Encino Man UK: California Man

US: Harry And The Hendersons UK: Bigfoot And The Hendersons

US: Howard The Duck UK: Howard: A New Breed Of Hero

US: The Professional UK: Leon

US: Point Of No Return UK: The Assassin

US: Hoosiers UK: Best Shot

US: Live Free Or Die Hard UK: Die Hard 4.0

US: The Mighty Ducks UK: Champions

Natural Born Killers (1994) Blind Spot Review

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Directed by Oliver Stone

Story by Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr, Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A satirical black comedy crime film that tells the story of two victims of traumatic childhoods who became lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

My Opinion:

Here we are with movie number three of my 2016 Blind Spot picks. I can’t believe I’ve actually managed to review one each month so far! (the previous two were An Education & Summer Wars). Other than The Doors & Platoon, I can’t say I’ve really liked any Oliver Stone films all that much so I went into this one with fairly low expectations. Plus, I’ve never exactly loved either Woody Harrelson or Juliette Lewis. Well, I have to say that I liked this one quite a bit and both those actors have gone up a little in my estimation (22 years later!).

I suppose it helps that Quentin Tarantino wrote the story? He wasn’t involved with the actual screenplay (I read that they changed his story quite a lot) but this movie has the overall vibe of the films he directed – not just in the extreme violence, of course, but also in the rich characters & dialogue.

I think it’s difficult to make a satire on our obsession with violence that then uses excessive violence to get its point across. Does this movie glorify violence just as much as it claims the media does, thanks to shows such as the film’s American Maniacs as hosted by Robert Downey Jr’s character? I read that, at first, this movie was going to be a straight-up action film before Stone decided to turn it into a satirical black comedy. I think changing the direction of the movie was a very wise decision. Actually, this is what I read at Wikipedia – I can see why he changed his mind:

“As the project developed however, incidents such as the O.J. Simpson case, the Menendez brothers case, the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident, the Rodney King incident, and the Federal assault of the Branch Davidian sect all took place. Stone came to feel that the media was heavily involved in the outcome of all of these cases, and that the media had become an all-pervasive entity which marketed violence and suffering for the good of ratings. As such, he changed the tone of the movie from one of simple action to a satirical critique of the media in general.”

I think the movie very much gets its point across and is even more relevant today as violence seems to be at an all-time high but, also, scenes of graphic violence are even more immediately accessible now than in 1994 thanks to the explosion of the Internet. It’s not some true-crime TV show (hosted by Downey Jr with, I gotta say, a really annoying fake Australian accent) that we have to worry about these days. Hell, American Maniacs looks like a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon compared to today’s video games & torture porn films never mind the disturbing clips of real-life violence which are far too readily available online thanks to everyone having their own damn video cameras in their phones. (Off Topic Rant: Man, I love my phone but wish I could time travel back to 1985 when peoples’ private lives weren’t being constantly recorded & uploaded for all to see. Kardashian-free 1980’s life sounds like a damn utopia now! Rant Over). So, Natural Born Killers is more relevant today but also wouldn’t actually work if made now as it’s no longer satire. Watching it now was quite scary, in a way, as I imagine it felt far-fetched in 1994? Now it just feels like one of those Making A Murderer type of true story documentaries that are so popular on Netflix.

I’m actually a huge wuss when it comes to violence in movies (I watch Tarantino’s with my hands over my face half the time) but am more accepting when the movie has a message like I feel this one does. There’s lots of blood in this but I was able to watch it all as it’s not as “gory” as Tarantino-directed films (which do glorify violence but are so cleverly written that I can’t help but love them anyway as a fan of film). Will someone go on a murder spree after watching this? Maybe. But someone who does that would’ve done that anyway whether or not they’d watched a violent movie or played a violent video game.

Oh crap – I really didn’t want to get into a deep discussion about the film’s message and about whether the media has a responsibility to humanity to not glorify violence and blah blah blah. That’s one of those arguments that can go around in circles for an eternity. All I’ll say is: Society is fucked. The media – including movies, TV, video games, websites – is just a reflection of society. It gives us what we seem to want based on our behavior. I think Natural Born Killers displays that logic perfectly but it’s a shame that its message, although extremely blatant, seemed to not be fully grasped by everyone at the time.

I think what worked for me with this movie besides the film’s message was its style. I loved the psychedelic scenes and Stone’s use of different colors. I thought the I Love Lucy sitcom-style scenes involving Rodney Dangerfield as the abusive father of Juliette Lewis were very inventive and the scene in the rattlesnake-filled desert was trippy. Hell, I even found the “marriage on the bridge” scene oddly romantic in a messed-up way. That’s the thing – I think most people watching this movie find themselves liking Lewis’ & Harrelson’s Mickey & Mallory despite the fact that they’re psychotic killers with no remorse. But that’s the whole point, of course. The media in the movie makes them stars and the movie itself has made their fictional characters stars. By the end, you want Mickey & Mallory to live happily ever after and THAT is truly fucked-up. That’s how good the movie is, though – it turns us into the Mickey & Mallory-worshipping audience of American Maniacs.

My Rating: 8/10

Tank Girl, Bronies & Class Of 1999 Movie Reviews

Here are three quickies for three shitty movies. I wasted enough time watching them so I don’t want to spend much time writing about them. Here we go!

Tank Girl (1995)

Directed by Rachel Talalay

Based on Tank Girl comic by Alan Martin & Jamie Hewlett

Starring: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, Scott Coffey, James Hong, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober, Reg E Cathey

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Tank Girl is set in a drought-ravaged Australia, years after a catastrophic impact event. It follows the antihero Tank Girl (Petty) as she, Jet Girl (Watts), and genetically modified supersoldiers called the Rippers fight “Water & Power”, an oppressive corporation led by Kesslee (McDowell).

My Opinion:

I recently read a collection of early Tank Girl comics (which I reviewed yesterday HERE) so figured I better finally watch the movie adaptation afterwards despite it being pretty widely trashed. While reading Tank Girl, I kept thinking “how could this actually work as a movie?”. The answer, of course, is that this movie doesn’t work. What a mess…

I’ll start with some positives: I didn’t mind Lori Petty as Tank Girl and thought she had the right look & attitude. I’ll try to ignore the fact that she’s not at all Australian! I didn’t love her as Tank Girl (I’m sure someone else might have been better although I’m not sure who) but I didn’t hate her. She seemed to have fun with the role, anyway. Tank Girl is an awesome character and I think that does come through in the movie even though they don’t quite capture her spirit. And, um… Another positive?? Let’s see… The soundtrack is pretty good! Although I would’ve liked much more punk plus they should’ve tried to use bands mentioned in the comic (but a “score by Ennio Morricone” actually wouldn’t have worked even if the comic liked to credit him with its score).😉

In the comic, there wasn’t much of a storyline. Tank Girl was daft (and usually drunk) and the whole thing was crazy & all over the place. I liked that. I’ve only read the earliest of the Tank Girl comics so don’t know how many I missed or if there’s actually a similar story to the one in the movie at some point but I didn’t think it worked. The story & the script sucked. Malcolm McDowell was a pretty crap villain and… Naomi Watts was in this?! I didn’t know that beforehand – she must be embarrassed now.

I wondered how they’d deal with Tank Girl’s boyfriend being a kangaroo and, although the movie doesn’t really manage to pull it off, I’m not sure how you ever could portray that in a film without it looking cheesy as hell. I like this bit of trivia at IMDB:

“MGM insisted on cutting a scene of Tank Girl and her kangaroo boyfriend Booga reclining after sex, despite spending $5,000 on a prosthetic penis for Booga.”

I don’t know what else to say about this movie. It just didn’t work but, to be fair, I think it’s a very hard comic to adapt. I do wonder if it would work nowadays with the right director since comic book movies have gotten a lot better and “darker”. I’d like to see a violent, R-rated version. Like Dredd but with a sense of humor? I don’t know – it still probably wouldn’t work but I did read that this movie was very heavily cut & that the director, Rachel Talalay, had no control over that so I suppose that didn’t help. I’m giving it a higher rating than I think it deserves because I really like the character of Tank Girl and, at the very least, I don’t think the movie tainted the character. But I’d like to see that fake kangaroo penis.

My Rating: 5/10

Class Of 1999 (1989)

Directed by Mark L Lester

Starring: Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Patrick Kilpatrick, Pam Grier, John P Ryan, Darren E Burrows, Joshua John Miller, Sean Sullivan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Robot teachers have been secretly placed in the schools where the students have run riot. The teachers do a good job of controlling the unruly youngsters, until they go too far and some students get suspicious.

My Opinion:

On paper (or on a screen since that’s how we read everything now), this movie sounds awesome. To me, at least. The synopsis (killer robot teachers in a high school!), the cool poster & the fact that it’s from the 1980s had me all excited to watch this movie that I’d somehow never even heard of. Well, damn – it’s not good. What a disappointment! I was hoping it would at least be a low budget sci-fi cult classic type of thing like Hardware or something (yes! I got yet another Hardware mention into a post!). I didn’t hate it but it’s not very good despite having so much potential to be something I’d like.


One thing I always love about watching movies from this time period is seeing familiar faces from my favorite era and Class Of 1999 has lots of these. Look – a Tank Girl connection with Malcolm McDowell! He plays the school’s principal in this – I think Hollywood had him on speed dial for these types of movies back then. The movie’s hero (Bradley Gregg – a teenage delinquent who’s actually a “good guy”) is in two of my favorite movies: he’s Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me and also the character whose death topped My Top Ten Nightmare On Elm Street Deaths in Dream Warriors!!!

The robot teachers are played by Patrick Kilpatrick, John P Ryan & Pam Grier (with dodgy-looking fake robot boobs). Stacy Keach is the main baddie in charge of the robots and for some reason seductively eats a banana? I immediately recognized Sean Sullivan as the drunk one who Garth doesn’t want spewing in the Mirth Mobile in Wayne’s World. Finally, Bradley Gregg’s sweet little delinquent brother is played by Joshua John Miller(!), who (whom?) I know very well from lots of 80’s movies & TV shows including my favorite episode of Highway To Heaven. Haha! Highway To Heaven!! I was such a nerd. I just looked him up & he co-wrote the screenplay for The Final Girls. What?! I should really try to watch that…


To be honest, I’m not sure what actually made this movie so bad. Yes, the acting is pretty rubbish and the special effects look dodgy and the script isn’t the greatest but I still can’t help but look at these images and the overall plot & cast and think that this is exactly my type of movie. I think it didn’t help that, when it started and we saw the exaggerated “futuristic 1999 punk kids”, it reminded me of the teenagers in Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. I’m pretty damn sure that no movie ever wants to make you immediately think of a Troma film.


Also, I watched this and the Bronies documentary very late one night as they were both about to disappear from Netflix. I kept falling asleep through both of them so I may have not fully given this movie a chance. Okay – I think I’m now trying to talk myself into liking Class Of 1999 for some reason?? It’s an okay film but extremely dated and would only possibly be appreciated by someone my age who likes this sort of thing. I’m glad I watched it but I’m not too bothered that it has disappeared from Netflix. I’m sure I’d have appreciated it more if I’d seen it when I was 15 or so. Has anyone seen the director’s previous film, Class Of 1984, which sounds like the exact same movie minus the robots? It has a higher IMDB rating. Hmm… I’ll watch that too if it shows up on Netflix!

My Rating: 5.5/10

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)

Directed by Laurent Malaquais

Produced by Anglie Brown, Morgan Peterson, Michael Brockhoff, Tara Strong, Lauren Faust & John de Lancie

Starring: A bunch of bronies!

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (formerly titled BronyCon: The Documentary) is a 2012 documentary film centering on bronies, the adult fans of the 2010 animated television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

My Opinion:

I said I didn’t want to waste much time talking about these movies but I did blather on a bit in my other two reviews. Well, this one will truly be short as there’s not much to say. I find the “Bronies” thing sort of fascinating as I still don’t understand why a bunch of grown men have supposedly latched onto My Little Pony but this documentary doesn’t really explore the “why” at all. It’s just not a very good or in-depth documentary and was quite boring considering its odd topic.

I actually don’t remember if the above guy was in the documentary but this is one of many photos that come up if you Google “Bronies” (I don’t think the guys I used in the photo at the very top were in it). You’d think I’d remember if he was but I can barely remember a thing about this now. That’s the problem – the documentary failed to make a bizarre topic at all interesting. I do, however, remember the below guy as I kept thinking he looked like Corey Feldman.

I’d say that you’d probably only want to watch this documentary if you’re a fan of My Little Pony. I actually found the bits with the voice actors (Tara Strong and, oh my god – Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, John de Lancie!) & the creator of the Friendship Is Magic series (Lauren Faust) more interesting than the interviews with the fans of the show.

Not surprisingly, one of the Bronies talked a little bit of the bullying he’d had to endure thanks to being a fan of the show (if I remember correctly, he had a gun pulled on him? God bless America!). That kind of thing always pisses me off because, although it may seem strange to a lot of us, these guys aren’t exactly hurting anyone by liking My Little Pony. I guess it was a little disappointing that the psychological aspect of what exactly it is about this show that has apparently drawn some grown men to it wasn’t explored but, hey, this was someone’s project and they did a decent enough job gathering together fans & those involved with the show. I’m sure it didn’t have a huge budget… I’d be interested to know what My Little Pony fans thought of it but I must admit that I don’t personally know any adult fans (although I did love old school My Little Pony as a young girl!).


This is the one I had!!!

My Rating: 5/10

I figured I should end this post with something from the Tank Girl soundtrack, which had potential but could’ve been much better overall. This is one of my two favorites from the soundtrack (I’ll post the other for Music Video Friday this week): Richard Hell And The Voidoids – Blank Generation: