Friday, May 19, 2017

The Sallie House


It's come to my attention that I've only posted once this month. Unfortunately, I've been busy, which means the blog gets ignored. My review of Halloweed was well received over at Cultured Vultures, and writing and promoting that was time consuming, and by 'well-received' I mean about a dozen people read it and no one flung rotting fruit at me.


I also wrote several book reviews over at WinkBooks.net, where I reviewed Bedtime For Batman, A Beginner's Guide To Immortality, and The League Of Regrettable Superheroes. You should check them out.


Check WinkBooks later, when they'll publish my reviews of the books Ghosts, Andy And Lucy Neanderthal, and Head Lopper. I actually almost sort of make an attempt at nearly serious writing.

Anyway, enough self-promotion.

Originally featured on the 1990s television shows Sightings and Unsolved Mysteries, The Sallie House investigates the infamous haunting.

Artist rendering of the alleged spirit, which seems fine as far as nightmare fuel goes.

Featuring reenactments, interviews, and video footage of varying quality, bricks are supposedly thrown, someone is allegedly knocked out of their shoes, teddy bears are inexplicably placed in a circle by an unseen force, roses are paranormally burnt, candles are found upside down, someone has unexplained pinky finger sensations, and a Great Dane is psychic. The owners of the home who first claimed to have experienced the haunting is interviewed, and clips from Sightings where the husband is allegedly attacked by Sallie, resulting in long, needle-like scratches on his torso, is shown.



I would like to recommend The Sallie House purely for the Great Dane, but since it only makes a brief cameo appearance, I can't.


I couldn't find a trailer for the Sallie House documentary, but I found this short clip of nothing particularly interesting happening in the basement of the Sallie House, and it's promoted by someone suggesting people visit Atcheson, Kansas. I think it's brilliant, because I watched 1 minute and 30 seconds of nothing happening, and it was more entertaining than a lot of the movies I've watched lately.




Monday, May 8, 2017

Westall '66: A Suburban UFO Mystery




Australian schoolchildren encounter a UFO in this compelling paranormal documentary. Featuring charcoal-sketch animations of screaming children fleeing from flying saucers, interviews with now-grown alumni of the school, and newspaper accounts revealing the secrecy at the time, Westall '66 is intriguing and gripping.

Very nearly verging on the credible, the documentary recounts the tale of how 200 children and teachers in two schools witnessed an unidentified flying object landing in a field in an Australian town in April, 1966. After a brief front page article in the local newspaper, the event seemed to have been hushed up, as supposed news footage and cameras disappear, information is allegedly erased from government records, and the community is apparently silenced through veiled threats. The film culminates in a reunion of the alumni. Corroboration of the event from nearly the whole town gives the film an air of authenticity. I'm uncertain what the town witnessed, but they deeply believe they saw something, and it's a fascinating mystery.


I recently held a Twitter poll asking the Twitterverse what film I should review next. Halloweed was the big winner. Check out my review here:




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs


The tale of the man who devotes his life to videotaping sightings of UFOs is examined in this quirky paranormal documentary. A story of tragedy and misfortune set in the odd underbelly of Monterey, California, Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs tells the story of affable, eccentric, and slightly exhausting musician and film maker Christo Roppolo, who inexplicably manages to capture images of and allegedly communicates with unidentified flying objects. A highlight of the film occurs as Roppolo recounts the tale of a man who set himself on fire at a golf course restroom, and how chasing a flying red orb caused Roppolo to crap behind a tree in said golf course. Less about flying saucers and more about the unfortunate artist haunted by them, Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs still entertains and fascinates.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvIOEqEzh08


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return




A brand new season of the film critique program for the people who like other people talking during movies, featuring bad special effects, bad sets, and bad puppetry, and I haven't even started talking about the film yet. The film is terrible, which is exactly what fans of the show would expect. There is a Luxembourg joke, a spleen joke, a mother joke, a Murray Head joke, and a joke about foley artistry and exposition.




There's also a Blazing Saddles reference, various instances of mockery, a few callbacks, other science facts, and yes, you can see the strings. A welcome return, although to be honest, I only watched the first episode. I don't have time for television programs. It takes time away from constantly refreshing my Twitter feed.




For those who missed it, I held a Twitter poll to see which terrible horror film I'll review next over at Cultured Vultures. It was a narrow victory, but the winner was Halloweed, although I use the term 'winner' very loosely. Don't fret, I'll hold another poll very soon because it was an awful lot of fun, but what I consider fun is very different from what others would consider fun. In case you're wondering, my twitter handle is SDeathrage@twitter.com. I'm the one wearing the mask.



Speaking of Cultured Vultures, I recently reviewed the Argentinian horror film Ataud Blanco. You should check it out. I didn't have very many nice things to say about it.



Friday, April 14, 2017

The Lovers & The Despot


The unbelievable true story of how Kim Jong-Il kidnapped two filmmakers to create a North Korean Hollywood is told in this fascinating documentary. Utilizing interviews, vintage film clips, and recreations, the sinister scheme unfolds. Imprisoned for 5 years, the husband and wife make 17 films in 2 and a half years, enduring constant surveillance, brainwashing, and 'emotional dictatorship'. As they worked for Kim Jong-Il, rumors swirled around their disappearance. After being accused of defecting to the North, clandestine audio tapes make it to the West, simultaneously providing proof of their ordeal and the very first audio recordings of Kim Kong-Il's voice. Ending in a dramatic run for the US Embassy, The Lovers & The Despot is a gripping documentary.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Double Down


A mercenary attempts to shut down the Las Vegas strip for some reason in this incomprehensibly bad espionage film written, directed, produced, starring, and catered by Neil Breen.

While wearing rubber gloves, a decorated military man turned mercenary for hire uses his multiple cell phones and laptops in the desert because of all the wi-fi. After some stock NASA footage and the unexplained appearance of random human bones by the side of the highway, he's ordered by an unnamed foreign government to shut down the Vegas strip. I'm not sure why. After a smidge of voiceover narration which comprises about 95% of the film, the mercenary says he only kills white collar criminals because I assume killing blue collar criminals would be unethical. Reflecting on his career, he says 'he's just a simple person'. Then he eats tuna out of the can while driving erratically and whining about being lonely.

After some stock nature footage, the mercenary says 'everything I need is always with me: a satellite dish, 5 laptops, 6 cellphones, and bioterror'. Warning against 'very dangerous wars', which are probably the very worst kind of wars, he claims he invented a force shield that causes death, and even though there's footage of a disposable extra unconvincingly dying from it I'm still not entirely sure what that means. He stumbles upon an unexpectedly writhing, inexplicably zipped sleeping bag which might or might not contain the ghost of his dead childhood girlfriend. Then there's the Breen trademark closeups of shoes.

18 minutes into the film we finally get some dialogue during an awkwardly nude poolside wedding proposal and assassination resulting in a dual nude deadman float. It's fine.

Waking next to his car, he finds someone has scrawled the phrase 'Help me' in blood. Since his car is filled with empty tuna cans, I'm assuming this is a cry for help for his addiction to tuna. It's unclear. The mercenary then says, 'I've continuously changed my identity', but he ironically rarely changes his tank top. Suddenly, he changes his tank top, then he breaks the 180-degree rule in an odd discussion about a terrorist. Breaking up the voiceover monotony, various clips of Vegas-style debauchery are shown, which is the most interesting part of the film. It's very brief. Then it's back to the tank top.

While climbing a steep desert hill which probably should have called for the use of a stunt double, the mercenary trips over a branch. He encounters a hermit who unconvincingly cracks his head open on a rock, which results in a continuity-defying bloody gash. It appears in one scene, disappears in the next, and reappears again, sort of like the tank top. Bald eagles and pigeons make cameos, and wind roars in the mic.

Suddenly, the mercenary encounters the ghost of his mother and father. They walk cautiously in the banks of a lake as the sound cuts out.

Suddenly, the mercenary is having an inexplicable dinner like a normal person with some never-before-seen and unexplained characters. He asks a little girl for a some water although his glass is partially full, and she brings back the glass with the exact same amount of liquid in it. Then there are clips of the White House, various cacti, landing jets, and footage of the mercenary sleeping in his car.

Suddenly, someone drops their anthrax, but it's probably just a sac of powdered sugar wrapped in duct tape, so there's no cause for alarm. Then someone unconvincingly runs their shopping cart into the mercenary's car, but instead of freaking out the mercenary unconvincingly says, 'It's OK, no damage'. Someone nearby videotaping the mercenary is unconvincingly shot in the head. Are they really nearby? Where are they? It's hard to tell.

The mercenary pays a valet $200 to borrow someone's Rolls Royce, because he needs to drive to one of those Vegas quickie-marriage chapels to pick up his next hit. He offers the newlyweds some champagne and drugged strawberries amidst sound inconsistencies and intermittent traffic noise. It's hardly creepy or suspicious at all. The bride awakens from her drugged stupor, and the mercenary convinces her that he married her. The mercenary gives the bride a quickie divorce by screaming, 'Get out, the marriage is over' at her, which is often how divorce works. He then stumbles upon an unconvincing lakeside murder/suicide, and sleeps in his car.

The mercenary finally enacts his dubious plan, which consists of walking around Vegas wiping anthrax on unsuspecting people while wearing continuity-defying gloves, which kills 'instantly on contact in 5 minutes'. Meanwhile, an unseen woman's voiceover breaks up the mercenary's voiceover monotony. After stealing a Ferrari, the mercenary picks up a guy wearing an obviously phony beard and mustache disguise.

Suddenly, I forgot I was watching a movie. Meanwhile, some 'anthrax dealers' show up and the cast ominous looks at each other for a while. Someone drops a suspiciously familiar duct-taped bag of anthrax, and everyone scatters. Then the mercenary says to the ghost of his dead girlfriend, 'Our love will never die, even in death it will go on'. In an abrupt non sequitur, the mercenary says, 'Didn't mean to disturb your lunch'. I'm not sure why. Then he attaches two satellite dishes to the back of his car, removes them again, and dumps out boxes of empty tuna cans from his trunk.

After a lengthy existential crisis which takes practically forever, the mercenary runs up a hill and does something with a ram's skull, and I'm pretty sure he gave the ram's skull a cameo in his third film. Then someone says, 'I want to welcome you to Las Vegas, there's nothing to worry about', which doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement for The Entertainment Capitol Of The World.

Suddenly, I forgot I was watching a movie again as the mercenary dumps more tuna cans from his trunk. The film ends several times for about 15 minutes, and then it finally ends and not a moment too soon.

Featuring terrible editing, terrible acting, terrible windswept sound, and a terrible script, Double Down also has awkwardly-paced dialogue, a maudlin, repetitive soundtrack, and at least one tank top in need of a wash. Sets seem to consist of the desert or the back of a BMW. Costumes consist of a tank top. Props consist of empty tuna cans. Director Neil Breen is a master of the use of stock footage, rivaling Ed Wood, so it's got that going for it. For Breen fans, don't worry, laptops were smashed. Double Down is a lol-worthy, incoherent, metaphysical mess that was probably shot in one day. Nearly all the credits are Neil Breen, except for lighting and hair and makeup, which are credited as none. Neil Breen catered the film, and it probably consisted of lots of tuna sandwiches. Double Down is enthusiastically recommended if you like stuff that sucks.














Thursday, March 23, 2017

City 40


Clandestine filmmakers break into Obersk, a contaminated Russian secret city and home to its nuclear reserves in this gripping, chilling documentary. Featuring footage of nuclear weapons tests, civilians wearing gas masks, shocking aerial footage of the burning rubble of Chernobyl immediately following the infamous accident, haunting photos of an abandoned school and amusement park, and affected civilians sweeping radioactive dust, City 40 is an eye-opening film showing the human and environmental effects of the nuclear arms race.



Oops, someone accidentally replaced the trailer of City 40 with a video of Vladmir Putin singing the Radiohead classic "Creep". Let's try that again, shall we?



Ah, here we go. That's much better.

When you get a chance, kindly stop over at Cultured Vultures and check out my review of American Poltergeist.


The Boys From Brazil



Alt-right war criminals organize to kill retirement-aged men and bring about the 4th reich in this absurd science fiction film. Featuring cloning, doberman pincers, old men biting each other, an inexplicable appearance by Steve Guttenberg, and the phrase 'The Right Hitler For The Right Future', The Boys From Brazil is a dated, ludicrous film. Seriously, who would believe a worldwide rise in Nazism in 2017?


Monday, March 20, 2017

Hieronymous Bosch: Touched By The Devil



Paintings by the enigmatic Dutch artist is curated for a 500th anniversary in his hometown in this dry, academic documentary. Although featuring astonishing extreme closeups of the 500-year old artwork in HD, examining details of each bizarre creature in Bosch's iconic altarpiece, The Garden Of Earthly Delights, and the delicate restoration of a damaged paining, most of the film is spent focusing on the bureaucracy of the negotiations to loan crucial pieces of his limited extant oeuvre for an exhibition in his hometown on the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. Stay tuned to the end of the film, when the triptych's right panel is shown in all its frightening, nightmarish glory.


Fun Fact: Although 'neoclassical dark wave' band Dead Can Dance named an early e.p. "Garden Of The Arcane Delights", Bosch's artwork makes an appearance on their Aion album cover.


See, wasn't that fun?

If you have a moment to spare, check out my review of the horror film American Poltergeist at Cultured Vultures.






Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion


A high ranking police officer kills his mistress and intentionally leaves taunting clues behind in this satiric, political thriller that was the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film of 1971. Dry, stylish, and blackly humorous, Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion follows the story of a 'law and order', anti-leftist police officer, who murders his mistress and initially covers up his crime by insinuating others could be suspects. After then leading the trail of clues to himself, he confesses to the crime, only to discover that in spite of clear evidence, no one believes him.

Painting a vivid portrait of the political environment of right-wing Italy during the early 1970s,  Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion has a frighteningly modern feel. With its scenes of political protest, intrusive surveillance, terrorism and threats of terrorism, an authoritarian police force obsessed with maintaining 'law and order', politicos seemingly exempt from prosecution, and a roundup of 'subversives', Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion seems remarkably fresh and current for a nearly 50-year old film. Plus, it has a great score by Ennio Morricone and 24 killer ties.


I said some stuff about the horror film American Poltergeist at Cultured Vultures. Strangely enough, the film doesn't have many poltergeists in it.




Thursday, March 2, 2017

De Palma


The career of the filmmaker is examined in this fascinating documentary.

It's De Palma. Just De Palma. OK, maybe a few other notables, but for the most part, it's just him.

Interviewed before a static camera, Brian De Palma candidly revisits his warts-and-all career and personal life. Punctuated by clips from his influential films including Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise, Carrie, Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, and Body Double, he discusses being influenced by Hitchcock and Godard, and the business of film and the techniques he uses; i.e. split screen, casting, scoring, lighting, editing, blocking, syncing, mixing, scoring, budgeting, and negotiating. It's an advanced class on film in and of itself. Oh, and he charmingly uses the phrase, 'Holy mackerel', about a million times.


Check out my review of Death Race 2050 at Cultured Vultures.





Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guardians Of The Galaxy



Bickering anti-heroes save the universe in this humorous comic book film. Featuring a great 70s soundtrack (well, except for Blue Swede IMO), it's an appropriately CGI'd, action-packed film based on a Marvel franchise I have very little familiarity with. Utilizing a novel concept where the film makers introduce the plot and characterization of an existing comic book property without slowing down the film to an almost complete halt, it's a superficially complicated, funny, boy's odyssey in space, which is certainly not a bad thing in the current dour superhero film climate. Exciting and surprisingly touching, it's a shame Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Batman Vs. Superman wasn't nearly as entertaining as Guardians Of The Galaxy.


Check out my review of Death Race 2050 over at Cultured Vultures. 





Alice Through The Looking Glass


When I started this blog 300 years ago, it was my mission to watch every bad movie from beginning to end, no matter how bad, and no matter how much my soul cried out to stop, however little soul it's rumored I have. I stayed on task for the most part, but I seriously do not have the time to waste on the Mad Hatter.

An overly CGI'd children's adventure/accidental horror tale, Alice Through The Looking Glass begins with Alice commanding a ship through stormy seas, and ends with Johnny Depp's Easter-themed mismatched eyeshadow and nightmare-inducing china doll-like contact lenses. It was never my intention to stop watching this film just as Johnny Depp shows up, who looks like a ghastly pink skeleton wearing acrylic-looking orange ringlets and aggressively caterpillar-like eyebrows, because I don't believe it's fair to comment on an actor's appearance and to judge a film solely on his off-putting and distracting purple cheekbones, and how I kept wondering if his startling, inexplicable costuming had anything to do with 19th-century mercury poisoning from millinery, or if it merely an excuse to have the makeup department spend many thousands of dollars to make Johnny Depp look like a microwaved package of Peeps.


Why does he look this way? What is the point of it? Was there something wrong with this one?


Or this one?


If they're trying to copy this one, maybe less is more. More is certainly not more, which is also the case with Peeps, where zero is acceptable.

 

Anyway, if anyone has the answer, as to why the Mad Hatter looks the way he does, don't tell me, I'd rather not know. 



So, needless to say I didn't continue watching Alice Through The Looking Glass because the temptation was too great, and I know I wouldn't discuss how Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rhys Ifans' talents are squandered in a loud, garish, and hollow 'Wonderland', and I would be forced to mention that Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter looks like a satin and velveteen dumpster fire filled with Easter baskets, and that's not fair to anyone.





If you have a spare moment, check out my review of the film Death Race 2050 over at Cultured Vultures. I don't have much to say that's kind about that one, either.







Friday, February 3, 2017

The Lobster


Single people must find a romantic partner in 45 days or face being turned into an animal and released into the wild in this absurd dystopian horror/comedy.

Unconscious, tranquilized loners lie on the ground, recently captured during a hunt, as their comrades are placed upon luggage trolleys and loaded into vans. A man smashes his face against a bedside table to bring on a nosebleed to better relate to his potential mate. A woman gives a sincere goodbye stroke to the mane of a golden-haired pony. A couple makes sure they have their marriage papers in order after being confronted by police. Fugitives wearing headphones dance in a dark forest to barely perceptible electronic music.

Ironic and brutal, The Lobster is leisurely paced, and beautifully filmed. It's a quietly horrifying and wryly comic film.

As with my previous reviews, I was going to somehow review The Lobster as a documentary, to comment on the current state of affairs around the world as it becomes the dystopia that has been so often reflected in art, literature, and film. I don't see the point anymore.

It's fine.




While I'm being chased through the forest as I futilely try to resist an incomprehensible, inescapable future that pursues me, why don't you pass the time by checking out my review of the paranormal TV show Rescue Mediums at Cultured Vultures?










Monday, January 16, 2017

Lo and Behold



Werner Herzog presnts a chilling look at the history of the internet and its impact on civilization in this chilling horror film. Starting at the very beginning of the internet in a nondescript room at a California college in 1969, touching on some of the major milestones, and a few XXXXXXXX

Featuring interviews with notable 

Featuring interviews with notable scientists, inventors, billionaires, and hackers, Lo and Behold examines a wor l d
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In a remarkable sequence, the phrase is uttered, 'Civilization is 4 square meals away from ruin', and
In a remarkable sequence, the phrase is uttered, 'Civilization is 4 square meals away from ruin', and XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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In a remarkable sequence, the phrase is uttered, 'Civilization is 4 square meals away from ruin', andXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


abandon earth 

artificial intelligence
tweet
cyber warfare 
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go short on consumer stocks                go long on military stocks                                     start a war

ICYMI, I reviewed the 13 Worst Films of 2016 at Cultured Vultures, but be careful. Werner Herzog says computer aren't so great, and I'd probably listen to him.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fight Club


Young men disillusioned by consumerism, corporate culture, and Swedish furniture are violently indoctrinated into a fascist underground boxing club involved in organized mischief and soap making by a mentally unhinged, charismatic, nihilistic, insomniac businessman in this terrifying, dangerous documentary. An unreliable narrator gives an account of his exploitation of mental health programs, his disruption of insurance industries, and his infatuation with affordable flat-pack furniture. After a real estate crisis, he meets an audacious, charismatic businessman, who then creates an army of violent, fascists soldiers which attempts to destroy the world's financial systems through creative vandalism. Do we have a clip? What do you know? We do!

https://youtu.be/4X35q_A-two

I'm sorry, it looks as though hackers replaced my clip from the documentary Fight Club with a news clip reporting on the recent occurrence of fights breaking out in malls across the US that were allegedly organized through social media.

Huh. How odd.

https://youtu.be/SUXWAEX2jlg

ICYMI, I reviewed the Worst Films of 2016 at Cultured Vultures.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Female Trouble


A fame-hungry woman drunk on crime, glamor, and liquid eyeliner joins a group of militant hairdressers in a post-truth, economically devastated Rust Belt city in this horrifying, anarchic documentary. In a world where children are actively dissuaded from learning about presidents, wars, numbers, or science, where crime enhances beauty, where discourse consists of screaming and shouting, and where spaghetti is hurled, egotistical businessman Donald Dasher enlists a mentally fragile, easily militarized woman to become a criminal fashion model on an outrageous, popular TV show, and exploiting her narcissism by encouraging her to bounce on a trampoline and kiss fish, which results in riots and violence amongst its viewers. Through vanity, elitism, and ignorance, Dasher manipulates the masses to their own collective downfall and destruction, and through creative twisting of the truth, escapes punishment for his own deplorable crimes. An unblinking look at a troubling criminal justice system and a dysfunctional media which takes no blame for the damaging famous-for-being-famous 'celebrities' it creates, Female Trouble is a shocking, explicit documentary that pulls no punches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK_4ILe2Iq4

ICYMI, I reviewed the 13 Worst Films of 2016 at Cultured Vultures.


http://culturedvultures.com/worst-movies-2016/

Monday, January 9, 2017

Duck Soup


A money-hungry, inept, misogynistic, hawkish, philandering, nepotistic autocrat ridicules his cabinet, antagonizes foreign powers, and plunges his debt-ridden country into a destructive war and general anarchy in this terrifying, absurd documentary.

Shot in glorious black-and-white and utilizing advanced, state-of-the-art CGI to recreate the look and atmosphere of an 80-year old film, Duck Soup is a startling political documentary. Following the exploits of an upstart, frustrated entertainer-turned-politician as he endangers his country through mockery, mismanagement, and misogyny, allows nepotism to run rampant which ruins small, citrus-based businesses, and passive-aggressively issues absurd threats of violence, all of which sets his beleaguered country on an inescapable path to catastrophe, it's a chilling look at current events.



Don't forget to check out my Top 13 Worst Films of 2016 over at Cultured Vultures.