Wednesday, February 20, 2013


An unlucky boy fisherman makes an unlikely catch in this Oscar nominated short film. Surprisingly hopeful for a film set in Somalia featuring a refugee cast, I thought the two lead boys were very good, and the fable-like scenes on the beach were touching. Like Buzkashi Boys, the cinematography of the desolation of a war-torn country was quite moving.

Buzkashi Boys

Two Afghani boys dream of becoming buzkashi horse-riders in this Oscar nominated short film. I particularly liked the horse-riding sequence, where the sport is seen in a snowy, foggy arena. Filled with decay and ruin, Buzkashi Boys is a bleak, muted film, and would be my 2nd place choice for the Oscar on Sunday.


A suicidal junkie babysits his precocious and estranged niece in this dark Oscar nominated short film. Fatima Ptacek, who plays the niece, is shockingly good. The impromptu dance sequence in the bowling alley adds a touch of needed levity. Curfew was my second favorite of the Best Live Action Short Films, and it probably won't win due to its seedy plot-line.


An elderly pianist searches for his violinist wife in this affecting and poignant short film. Muted and sombre, Henry has an air of intrigue about it. It was not one of my favorites of the Best Live Action Short Films, and because it was touching and sentimental, it will probably win the Oscar on Sunday.

Death Of A Shadow

A man captures shadows to display in a mysterious gallery in this Oscar nominated short film. Beautifully shot with dark, well-composed images, the steam-punky art direction is rather extravagant for a short film. It was my favorite of the 2013 Best Live Action Short Films, so it probably won't win.


The intestines of several extras are torn out by a vicious chicken/dinosaur hybrid hand puppet in this movie starring Clint Howard. If you're worried about watching a film with Clint Howard, you can relax because he's only in it a short time before his head is torn off while he's eating a bucket of the Colonel's 11 herbs and spices because apparently chicken/dinosaur hand puppets are annoyed by that sort of thing. Diane Ladd is the mad scientist who has engineered chicken eggs to have tiny dinosaurs and the liquified remnants of a Shamrock Shake inside them, and it's hardly gross or convincing at all. And to add insult to injury, a woman gives birth to a slimy green egg the size of a basketball while wearing pantyhose because apparently there was no time to take them off or it was a convenient bit of product placement for L'Eggs.

So, yeah. Carnosaur was just terrible, but it was refreshing to watch something terrible after watching so many decent indie films.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Park And Recreation's Aubrey Plaza and The League's Mark Duplass star in this sci-fi romantic comedy where a man puts out an ad looking for someone to accompany him in a trip backward in time. Thankfully, this film doesn't have a lot of romance in it, which is good because I hate that. Safety Not Guaranteed is charming and wry, particularly Aubrey Plaza who essentially plays her Parks And Rec's character here. That's OK, because her apathy is the perfect foil to Duplass's insecurities. I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mythic Journeys

Tim Curry and Mark Hamill provide voices to a stop-motion animated adventure while various gurus prattle on about myths and other new-agey bullcrap in this tedious documentary. I enjoyed the animated vignettes, but the touchy-feely interviews where the participants ramble on about joy, bliss, and peace intercut with scenes of skiers jumping over ravines and sunlight streaming through mysterious forests bothered me. I'm not a big fan of joy, peace, bliss, or outdoor sports, so this film irritated me.

John Dies At The End

I'm not sure how to sum up this film. Directed by Don Coscarelli; the film-maker responsible for Phantasm, The Beastmaster, and Bubba Ho-Tep, and based on a webserial novel, John Dies At The End is a buddy mind-trip action-packed sci-fi horror movie reminiscent of Videodrome, with a hint of The Matrix, with a sprinkling of Naked Lunch, and a dab of Phantasm. I enjoyed John Dies At The End very much, but I'm not really sure what actually happened in it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Exterminating Angel

Guests are trapped at a fancy dinner party in this surrealist film. For some mysterious reason the servants suddenly leave, and that's when the real horror begins. I couldn't imagine anything more terrifying. First of all, having a fancy dinner party would be just awful. While I have unlimited resources, I don't particularly like sharing it with anyone. I don't want a bunch of freeloaders chilling in my penthouse eating up all my fancy foods. Second of all, I'll be darned if all my minions, I mean, domestic help, are just going to walk off the jobs in a huff. We will follow proper human resource protocol and all the forms of voluntary employee separation will be filled out, and by 'filled out' I mean everyone is getting shoved down the elevator shaft. Second of all, I don't like fancy food. I'm certain that if I served what I usually eat to all my freeloading fancy guests, they would be appalled by the tater tots and the Party Size Stouffer's Macaroni And Cheese. And finally, I don't like guests, fancy or not. I really can't stand having a whole bunch of nosy busy-bodies rifling through my items. There's nothing worse than a penthouse full of curious party guests getting their greasy tater tot covered fingerprints all over my assets and asking a bunch of questions. 'Ooh, what's this secret passageway? Ooh, what's this huge vault? Wait a minute, is this painting Vermeer's 'The Concert'? Hey, where does this open elevator shaft go?'. I don't need that kind of aggravation, interference, or investigation by certain government agencies. And don't get me started on the fact that the party-goers in The Exterminating Angel are unable to leave. If ever in the extremely unlikely event that I'm going to throw a fancy dinner party where everyone suddenly becomes trapped through some mysterious psychological force, it wouldn't take a month before all sorts of surreal events start happening like sheep wandering through the penthouse or people sawing on cellos or disembodied hands scooting menacingly across the floor. It would take about 15 minutes for the clocks to start melting and all societal niceties to completely break down, because that's about how long my patience for fancy dinner parties would last. Everyone is going to have to grab all their mink coats and top hats and diamond tiaras and get lost. There is no way I would ever tolerate a bunch of stuffy high society begowned and tuxedoed fannies sitting around my penthouse planted in my antique Stickley Morris chairs breathing up my air and asking possibly incriminating questions about my art collection and eating all my fancy tater tot canapes and expecting me to entertain them somehow and blinking at me. It's just not going to happen.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nude Nuns With Big Guns

A nun goes on a killing spree in this derivative exploitation film. That's pretty much the plot. It's slow-moving, gimmicky, and clearly "influenced" by Jean Rollin and Quentin Tarantino, and by "influenced" I mean "totally ripped off, including how many bare feet are seen in the film". I was only entertained for a moment in this dreadful film, and that was when a dead, bullet-riddled priest under a bloody sheet is seen to be breathing, but it only lasts for a moment in this seemingly 12-hour long film. You would think a nude-nun-gun movie wouldn't be so boring. It is.

A Virgin Among The Living Dead

I'm not really sure what A Virgin Among The Living Dead is about because the print I watched was in French with no subtitles. Here's what happened:

A girl visits a Gothic castle, then walks around in sheer underpants and no one seems to notice because this is a Jess Franco movie. Then a guy in a car mumbles, which the girl finds upsetting for some reason. Then a guy plays a piano, but I don't think he actually plays it because his arms are so flourishy. Then a similar girl pretends to smoke. Then a completely different girl suggestively strokes her lips with a feather. Everyone seems to stare off into the distance. I'm not sure why. Another girl sits in a chair and looks up. Again, I'm not sure why. She blinks occasionally.

A door is ajar, and it blows open and closed, which frightens the first girl who happens to be nude. The mumbly guy carries around a chicken head. I'm not sure why. Then another girl stares upward, and I realize I've lost count how many girls are in this movie. Saying that one of them is nude is definitely not helpful.

Then a girl who I assume is the very first girl takes a badly edited walk through the jungle while light samba plays on the soundtrack. She decides a skinny dip in a pond full of lily pads is a good idea, and creepy guys in need of some Grecian Formula look on. Then I accidentally nod off because this film is in French and very, very boring.

I awaken to the sight of two bloody nude girls with a pair of scissors engaged in some sort of unconvincing sapphic vampirism, and that's necessary because Jean Rollin co-directed this film. There's some dead bats, a guy hanging by his neck while blinking, and a severed hand on a table. I nod off again, and the movie is over. I'm assuming everyone learned a valuable lesson.

That's odd, but I don't recall seeing any of those things in the movie, which would have been somewhat thrilling.

Secret Origins: The Story Of DC Comics

I was always a DC fan. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy Marvel, too. But I always liked DC better, due to their unabashed goofiness. Marvel was always so serious. Pound for pound, DC had far more goofy, useless, and confusing heroes than Marvel. Let's break it down, shall we? Let's start from the beginning. Here's my version of DC's history called Secret Origins: The Story Of DC's Useless Heroes.

There was a group of superheroes in the Golden Age of Comics known as the Justice Society. I love them. They were featured in the comic book known as All-Star Comics. Two of their members are two of my favorite useless heroes. The first one is Red Tornado.

Clad in long-johns and wearing a cooking pot for a helmet, most of her exploits involve splitting her pants. I love her. She's awesome. Next is Mr. Terrific.

Mr. Terrific is "The Man Of 1000 Talents", but I'd be hard pressed to say I've ever seen him display a single one. In the page above, he rescues a cat, which is what people need their superheroes to do and could be argued doesn't need a lot of talent. Then in the 1950s, The Phantom Stranger appeared.

Dressed in a fedora and cape, The Phantom Stranger has almost omnipotent powers but never seems to use them. He just sorts of appears in the first panel of his comics and never appears again until the end. He's great. Later in the decade The Legion Of Super Heroes appeared, and boy, were they filled with awesome, useless super heroes.

The comic above features Ferro Lad, a guy who could turn into solid iron. He saved Earth from a villain called the Sun Eater, but was killed in the process. I love it when DC kills off their characters, as long as they stay dead. Mr. Terrific was killed back in 1978, and I think he stayed that way. As you can see, Ferro Lad became a ghost, which is pretty cool.

And finally, the panel above features Matter Eater Lad, a hero who can eat anything. Here he is chomping down on a ray-guy, which is probably very useful in the 30th century. Matter Eater Lad is so awesome, Guided By Voices wrote a song about him.

So, there's that. I could go on and on about DC's Useless Heroes (I'm talking about you Legion Of Substitute Heroes!), but I'm sick of it.

I greatly enjoy the comic books of the Golden and Silver Age. A) They're goofy, fun, and simple. B) They're hard to acquire. And C) They're valuable.

Anyway, Secret Origins: The Store Of DC Comics is a well-made documentary featuring interviews with Neal Adams, Joe Kubert, and Neil Gaiman and many shots of beautiful, colorful comic book covers from throughout DC's history.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

London In The Raw

The London's swinging sixties are examined in this surprisingly chaste and conservative documentary. Loosely traveling from one 'underground' happening to another; we see hookers, women exercising in high heels, electrolysis, hair transplants, bellydancing, and beatniks. It also features many dreary musical numbers that were probably seen as completely unfashionable when this creaky, artificial, and possibly staged documentary was originally released. Attempting to be salacious and shocking; London In The Raw comes off as haughty, uncool, and detached, sort of like someone's faintly puzzled grandfather commenting on the whippersnappers and hoodlums and the things that they do. London In The Raw should have been named Mutual Of London's Mild Kingdom.

The Story Of Film: An Odyssey

The Story Of Film is just that, the story of film. Presented from a decidedly non-Hollywood viewpoint, it's 900 staggering minutes of the story of film from its earliest beginnings until now. I was initially bothered by the meter of director/narrator/critic Mark Cousins speaking voice, but I became accustomed to it, and appreciated its earthiness and warmth. I'm not going to talk about The Story Of Film anymore. I'm annoyed that there's probably no way I'm ever going to be able to watch all of the films discussed in this amazing documentary. I'll just post a link to the Wikipedia article which lists them.

Monday, February 11, 2013


It's an epic battle sort of between two teen idol powerhouses I suppose in this ham-fisted SyFy Channel Bigfoot mess. Danny Partridge and Greg Brady glare unconvincingly at one another until Audrey Horne dressed as if she wandered off the set of Fargo shows up, and then WKRP's Dr. Johnny Fever pretends to be a mayor for some reason and no one has any idea what rock'n'roll is actually about.

First of all, Sting would never approve of tearing down trees to hold a rock concert in South Dakota, and second of all 5000 people wouldn't show up to a Sting concert in South Dakota because I doubt the existence of 5000 people living in South Dakota, the existence of Sting, and the existence of Bigfoot. Anyway, a laughably awkward and poorly-realized CGI Bigfoot shows up, and he's got the fever for the flavor of the 27 people who show up for this so-called rock concert, one of whom is dressed like a bargain basement Bigfoot and the other wears those wacky over-sized sunglasses that soccer moms often wear when they attend what they think are rock concerts, and then he goes on a rampage and knocks over port-o-pottys and bites the concert-goers heads off, and not a moment too soon, because Alice Cooper gets trampled, Greg Brady sings, and the real horror begins. Seriously, if you're somewhere in South Dakota and you think you have a Bigfoot infestation problem, and you find a footprint in the snow the size of a Mistsubishi, do you check with the local radio DJ/concert promoter/former child star/Partridge for confirmation? I doubt it, but I'm not sure, and I'm definitely not sure the best way to combat a Bigfoot infestation is to hand out pamphlets.

In The Dark Half

A teenaged girl seems haunted after a series of bad events in this psychological thriller. While babysitting the son of her vilified next-door neighbor, the boy mysteriously dies. In an effect that seems natural and accidental, wind often rustles leaves in this film to somewhat magical effect, giving an ominous atmosphere. Using hares as a metaphor for innocence and fear, the film twists and turns to a slightly unsatisfying conclusion. However, I really enjoyed the lush, organic cinematography filled with earthy decay, and the disquieted performance of the lead actress.


Two brothers renew a decades-old rivalry in this bittersweet indie comedy. One man will be crowned Best Brother Of All Time after 25 grueling events such as leg-wrestling, holding your breath under water, and ping-pong and the occasional fist-fight. I thought the film was touching and funny, but I had a tough time figuring out if it was inspired by Dogme'95 or The Office. Anyway, everyone learns a valuable lesson in the end, although I wish the camera would sit on a tripod once in a while.

Dr. Orloff's Monster

A woman vacations in a mad scientist's castle filled with cobwebs, narrow hallways, and dramatic shadows where a lumbering turtleneck-wearing monster with a penchant for killing nightclub singers is on the loose in this gothic thriller. I would have to assume that Madrid has at least a couple of hotels that aren't castles filled to the brim with cobwebs and murder, so why would this chick stay here? I would totally stay there, but I'm a nut. Most people would probably be a little freaked out by hotels with a beatnicky monster running around in it.

If you'll pardon me for a moment, I'll check to see if there less murdery hotels in Madrid. Be right back....

Yep, there's a 4-star Holiday Inn that's a two-minute walk to the Santiago Barnabeu Stadium. It has a fitness center, a jacuzzi, and a sauna; and it doesn't say anything about murderous monsters.

I would hope she wrote a scathing Yelp review of Dr. Orloff's accommodations.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


What starts out as an interesting commentary on the democratization of culture devolves into a mean-spirited diatribe in this well-shot documentary. Bill Drummond of the KLF, Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy, and Moby give insightful interviews; but of course the film-makers decide to add a little 'balance' to the movie by giving precious screen-time to arrogant blowhard Andrew Keen and some snob from Pitchfork. Sure, they have a point that the internet has given the untrained masses the ability to create what they think is art, and maybe what these amateurs create really isn't art. But that debate has gone on since humans painted on walls, and it isn't going to be settled today. What really chaps my hide about this film is that someone might actually listen to these snobs. If you have the desire to create crappy art, do it. Don't listen to these critics. It's been said that anyone can be pick up a camera and be a photographer, so therefore anyone with a master's degree in political science can be an art critic. Everyone has an opinion, and just because someone has a degree to back it up doesn't mean they're not a braying ass. How can you trust someone telling you that the only good music being made today is by a forlorn, bearded hipster strumming an acoustic guitar in an isolated cabin when the only music they think is good is by forlorn bearded hipsters strumming acoustic guitars in isolated cabins? Why should you trust an elitist talking about the imminent demise of a cultural economy and who then practically begs you to buy his book detailing the demise of a cultural economy? You shouldn't, so keep making those depressing albums about living in the woods because there's an infinitesimally small chance you just might come from nowhere and win a handful of Grammys (But let's be honest, you won't; and if you do, do you really want one? They gave one of those things to Milli Vanilli, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences market themselves as an authority on music.), and keep making those youtube videos where you skateboard down something steep and dangerous and crush your nuts on a railing, and keep making terrible monster movies where you can see the zipper in the rubber monster suit because maybe those things might make someone in the world happy and maybe that someone is you.

Zeta One

Zeta One is a surprisingly chaste 007 sexploitation ripoff; with lots of space-age plastic furniture, blue eyeshadow, fake eyelashes, gogo boots, g-strings and pasties. I think the plot has something to do with alien women conducting mini-skirted kidnappings and strip poker, but I'm not really sure because of all the kaleidoscopic psychedelic nonsense going on. You would think with all the g-stringed, pastied, soft-core shenanigans, Zeta One wouldn't have been so freakin' boring.

Monday, February 4, 2013


 It's award season, and unfortunately that means I have to watch good movies. That's not really what this blog was created for. This blog was meant to be a venue that would allow me to watch crap movies and complain about them. So there's that old saying that 'man cannot live by crap alone', and I can't force my family to watch crappy movies and I have to actually pay attention to them and come up with something insightful to say. I'm not one for insight. My strength, if you could call it that, could probably be summed up with 'casual bitchy crankiness'.

Anyway, Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is meditative and atmospheric; where the majority of the film's battles take place in the shadowy recesses of the White House as hazy sunlight streams in through windows, giving the scenes within a dreamlike, idyllic quality. The cinematography is shot in an way that is reminiscent of an old oil painting. It looks antiquated; but unlike some other recent Lincoln movies, it's never showy and seems natural. Lincoln is an actor's film, with an eloquent, lyrical script by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner. Every actor, especially 2012 Oscar nominees Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field, play their parts as if they alone can save the Union. Even though he's already won two Best Actor Oscars, it's still astonishing to see Daniel Day-Lewis disappear into a role. Always attempting to charm with an anecdote, Lewis' Lincoln is down-to-earth, relatable, and charitable. And he's funny! It'll be hard to lose the Oscar for this film.