Violet & Daisy (2011)

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I don’t know what this movie was trying to say because it was definitely trying to say something. And on the off chance that it wasn’t trying to say something then it was just a garbage movie. Something about gender or youth or values or maybe race? I legitimately do not know.

I thought Violet & Daisy – written and directed by the guy who made Precious was going to kind of kick ass or be super clever or something. In the end, it came off like one of the scripts a guy in my screenwriting class who really loves Quentin Tarantino would have written. A little eccentric with violence and some sort of blanket statement about something.  And then there were some actors who are capable of quality acting (not sure about Alexis Bledel, though…) delivering their lines like the most amateur amateurs around.

I don’t know if I was supposed to buy these two girls droppin’ their g‘s from all of their words whenever they were talkin’. They were workin’ with some strange phrasin’ and some speech that seemed like it was comin’ out of a totally different era. It didn’t hit its mark at all.

Writing this, I’m finding I don’t even know what to say. The movie left me feeling a bit miffed. I don’t recommend it. Not even a little bit. The premise was cool, but it was all fucked. If someone can explain the redeeming qualities of this movie, I would love it.

Bye.

* star for Saoirse Ronan looking beautiful and a cool wardrobe. Otherwise, nope. Don’t.

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Only God Forgives (2013)

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Listen, I wasn’t all that into Drive. It just wasn’t for me. I thought it was boring and as much as I love Ryan Gosling (and love to look at him), I didn’t think he was especially great in it.

And I thought the same thing about Only God Forgives. Visually, enjoyable. There were some really beautifully shot scenes. It was incredibly violent which I’m always up for. But I swayed between feeling a bit tense, being incredibly bored, and rolling my eyes.

I reflected, I did some theory reading. Sure, there’s some somewhat interesting symbolism (God/The Devil/the sinner) in there. There’s some incestuous/Oedipal (under)tones. But it just feels so empty. It feels like it’s trying so hard to make all of these capital-P points that it just ends up being nothing. All of these symbols and all of these metaphors – I mean, the colors, the spaces used, the dialogue – are just there. And that’s all.

A lot of people seem to be taking issue with the level of violence and vulgarity in Only God Forgives, but that really didn’t bother me. I like to think that I can appreciate a fair amount of artiness in movies but this movie just didn’t deliver. I prefer Drive to it but I still don’t like Drive. And frankly, I’d like to know what the direction is for Gosling. I think Refn just tells him to stare at things for as long as possible.

And I’m really pissed about how much of a let down this movie was because I watched this precise trailer for the movie earlier today and I was fucking prepped to be blown away. That minute and a half is so much better than the hour and a half long movie. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the song “2020” by Suuns, though.

* star

Admission (2013)

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Y’know, sometimes a movie has so much going for it that it’s bound to be a letdown. The kind of movie where you see the cast and then the writer and/or director and you feel like you’re maybe having a heart attack but you know that’s highly unlikely because you’re only 23 and you’re just sitting in bed? And then you watch it a year later and you’re left feeling very “meh”? That happened with Admission.

I’m a single, straight, red-blooded woman so yeah, I’ve got the hots for Paul Rudd. And I have since I saw Clueless when I was about nine years old. This means I’ll see roughly…100% of the movies he’s in. And I like Tina Fey, too. But not the way I love Paul Rudd.

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It was just okay. I had a couple of laugh smiles (not funny enough to merit a laugh, but just funny enough for me to smile sans teeth) and there were about two moments that I thought were er…touching but it just fell short.

I’m only recommending this movie to those people who just want to see Paul Rudd saying new things and making new faces. And if you’ve proclaimed undying loyalty to Tina Fey. Otherwise, skip it.

* star (that seems way harsh, Tai. But I can’t mislead the people.)

The Host (2013)

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Okay, maybe I did read ‘The Host’ by Stephenie “I Have the Same Emotional Depth and Writing Abilities as a 13-Year-Old-Girl” Meyer. What of it? You wanna say something? Say it.

And while the book was a step up – a step, you’re still in the cellar, you’re just a little bit closer to the door – from the Twilight series, it still wasn’t great. I appreciated the idea behind it. Souls take over a body and they’ve been doing it on 12 different planets before getting to Earth. There is a resistance, love conquers all, blah blah blah.

I’m sure there’s some symbolic something or another in regard to this story. You know, something about what makes a person a person. Something about religion, something about love, so on and so forth. I’m not trying to get all Spring Breakers on this movie. Not even a little bit worth it.

The Host was sooo melodramatic. Lots of near-tears scenes, lots of kissing, lots of building trust, lots of “aw c’mon, humans can’t be that bad. I’ll bet aliens would even like us!” As much as I love Saorsie Ronan (that girl is a badass), her screaming “MONSTERS!” when she found out the people in the resistance she was slowly becoming a part of were trying to figure out a way to take the souls out of the human hosts, thereby killing the souls, was laughable.

Plus, Melanie/Wanda is the least flawed person ever. One guy goes from wanting to kill her (the soul, Wanda) to being in love with her in a few days. She never does anything wrong. She just keeps doing everything she can to help the human stuck inside her (well, really, the soul is stuck in her but…you get it?) and the humans who are sheltering her and slowly coming to trust her. Bitch doesn’t step out of line. She just keeps giving weepy mini-speeches and helping. Give me a break. And the other guy, the guy who loves the human, Melanie, shows zero emotion in regard to his lady (kind of) kissing another guy. In fact, all three of them hardly ever have scenes together. There is never a conversation about the oddity of the threesome since it’s a foursome between three bodies. I don’t know.

It was an okay looking movie. They were in caves for a lot of tit but they’re big desert canyon things (I’ll hand it to them: the movie looked exactly like I had imagined it when I read the book. Props on that), so I guess it was kind of grand and pretty. And the souls were very high-techy. A little bit Gattaca.

I don’t know. I honestly don’t have a whole lot of an opinion on this. It was a slightly better and sci-fi take on Twilight. Fewer abusive relationships, a little more character development, a slightly more original plot. It was an okay way to spend a Saturday night. But in reality, the Oreos I ate were more of a highlight for me. Then again, I like really love Oreos.

* star

The Longest, Most Unnecessary Play-by-Play of Abduction (2011)

I’m watching fucking Abduction starring Sharkboy Werewolf Lautner tonight and I can hardly wait. This is going to be the best worst thing I’ve done in a while.

I’m going to do this shit timeline style. The important stuff ALLEGEDLY happens over 24 hours.

So, the movie opens with Nathan Jacob riding on top of a truck – not even cool Teen Wolf style – telling his friends to go faster and that they “got bitches waiting” but once they get to high school, not one “bitch” is waiting for them.

After a night of high school style partying, Jacob returns home only to get into a super intense “sparring” match re: his father, Lucius Malfoy is beating the shit out of his son. But it’s their workout and they have gloves on so…

Someone get those caterpillars off that girl's face!

Someone get those caterpillars off that girl’s face!

Jacob is in love with his next door neighbor, Phil Collins daughter or as I am going to call her: Eyebrows. Clearly, there is some UST between Jacob and Eyebrows. But don’t worry – they get paired together for a high school sociology project. And what do they choose? Missing kids.

So they’re surfing the web – only after they have touched their shoulder skin together for a brief moment – and they happen upon a site that shows missing kids and mock ups of what they might look like today. They look at two kids and their age progressions all the while laughing about what celebrity hybrid they look like.

02“Jason Statham meets Justin Bieber. LOLZ HAHAHA” and then “Ryan Seacrest meets…LADY GAGA. OMG! SO FUNNY!” So they’re laughing at these poor missing kids’ expense when out of nowhere, one of them kind of looks like Jacob. Kind of. So Jacob manages to find the exact same fucking stained toddler shirt packed away in some dresser and his mind is blown. He was definitely missing and then stolen.

7 PM: So the minute he confronts his “mother”, assassins show up and kill his “parents.” And then, just as Jacob is screaming at one of the guys “WHO ARE YOU?! WHO ARE YOU?! WHAT’S GOING ON?!” the assassin says “I’ll tell you everything. But I won’t die here. There’s a bomb in the oven.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 10.09.05 PMWhat? Jacob and Eyebrows (yes, she’s there, too) race to the oven and indeed find a bomb – it looks like something the Wiley Coyote would use on the Road Runner – is counting down and they get out of there. Meanwhile, the guy who said he wouldn’t die there? He dies there. By his own wiley hand.

Now they’re on the run. They go to the hospital because Eyebrows scraped herself (honestly, she gets a band-aid) and Jacob makes a call but immediately, the C.I.A. answers. But Jacob isn’t having that. HE TRUSTS NO ONE. Then he runs into his psychiatrist, Sigourney Weaver, and lo and behold, she’s a friend of his real father and wants to save them. She does. She informs them that some Serbian guy is after a list his father stole and wants to use Jacob as…blackmail? I don’t know. Anyway, the C.I.A. wants to protect him (but Sigourney doesn’t buy it. She thinks someone inside wants to get rid of him) and some Serbian gang wants to capture him. The leader of the pack set up a bunch of phony, weird ‘missing kids’ websites to lure Jacob into revealing his location. These websites have only existed for 10 days. Really?

8 PM: Jacob and Eyebrows end up in the woods and they fall asleep.

8 AM: The teenagers wake up, hitchhike with a trucker 6 hours to Virginia where there is a “safe house.”

2 PM: They show up at the address Sigourney gave to them. It’s really Jacob’s father’s apartment. Jacob looks through stuff and sniffs his dad’s clothes. Stupid Eyebrows makes an outgoing call from a landline and it connects to the C.I.A. Again. They leave after helping themselves to his father’s BMW.

3 PM: Then they get back into their car and go back to Pennsylvania, yet another 6 hour drive. Some clues lead them to believe they should go to Nebraska but Jacob is wise – they need to ditch that car. They get some fake IDs so they can travel without being caught and jump on the ol’ AMTRAK.

4 PM: They get on the train but of course, there’s some Serbian guy out to get them. After some weird but intense making out, Eyebrows says she’d like to get some food. So she goes – by herself – to get the food and the weird Serbian man follows her. Rather than follow her all the way to their compartment, he jumps her and makes her tell him where the Werewolf is. Brilliant. Jacob kills the bad guy by throwing him out of the moving train. They are almost to Cincinnati at this point. Let’s say they were on the train for 4 hours.

8 PM: The C.I.A stops the train and Jacob and Eyebrows get the fuck out of dodge. But of course, the C.I.A finds them and plays nice. Alfred Molina, head of C.I.A says “you’ve been on the run for 22 hours” (I have 25 hours by my count and it’s also still broad daylight. What the fuck universe is this?) “I’ll buy you guys milkshakes and burgers.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 9.30.50 PMThey go to a diner and sit right in front of a huuuuuge fucking window – by far the safest location. Jacob figures out that Alfred Molina’s name is on the list, which is full of American Agents who have given information to other countries that want to take down the U.S. So Jacob is like nuh. uh. But all of a sudden, Serbians are shooting the place up so YET AGAIN, Jacob and Eyebrows are on their own. At this point, they’re somewhere in Ohio.

9 PM: Still broad daylight. Jacob stole a car – I don’t know when or where he learned to do that. He also reveals that he stole the phone off the guy from the train. Quite the little thief, Sharkboy. Serbian villain calls them and says “Convenient thing about cell phones, they can be turned into listening devices as well.” Sure, Serbian man. Sure. He then tells Jacob that if he doesn’t hand over the list, he’ll kill everyone from Jacob’s friends to his “boring teachers” to “every friend [he has] on Facebook.” This man is hip. Let’s say at best they’re in Athens, OH. Here’s a 3 hour drive to Pittsburgh.

Midnight: Still, the sun is out. Jacob meets up with one of his friends and keeps saying “DID YOU DO WHAT I ASKED?!” and the kid confirms he did indeed do what he asked. Jacob has decided that “the drop” will be at the Pittsburgh Pirates game. Jacob goes in and hides a ticket for Serbian villain to pick up. Meanwhile, Eyebrows waits to see Serbian villain get the tickets and snaps some photos to send to Jacob so Jacob knows who he’s dealing with. Kind of clever but ultimately, doesn’t matter.

Again, Jacob is at a Pittsburgh Pirates game at midnight where it looks to be high noon. Jacob’s real dad calls him and says, “Don’t do this son! Please! I lost you once and I don’t want to lose you again. Please, let the authorities handle this. I want to re-adopt you!” Okay, maybe a bit dramatic but you get the gist. And Jacob chooses to be a petulant, bitter child and responds with, “You had 15 years for that. I’m done waiting.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 10.11.32 PMJacob and the villain sit next to each other and have a tense discussion, though the Serbian man does reveal that he doesn’t know anything about baseball but he does love popcorn. Me too, man. Well, the popcorn. I understand baseball. It’s not that difficult of a game to grasp.

Then, it’s revealed that a gun has been duct taped to the bottom of Jacob’s chair. Let me get this straight, I’m to believe that A. Some kid slipped into a stadium with a gun? B. He duct taped said gun to a chair with no one saying “Hey, what the fuck are you doing with a weapon and duct tape?!” C. That Jacob would, what? Wield a gun like a lunatic in a stadium full of Pittsburgh people who ain’t havin’ none of that shit?! Yinz must be kiddin’!

Serbian man manages to get the gun. A chase ensues. Jacob’s father calls him and says “I’m here son. Lead him to the parking lot.” And just as it looks like all hope is lost, dad follows through and shoots the Serbian man in the street. People don’t seem to react the shooting. Although, it is Pittsburgh. Just kidding, I think you’re okay, Pittsburgh.

2 AM: SUNLIGHT TOUCHES EVERY PART OF THE LAND. Dad and Jacob talk on the phone. Dad is Dermott Mulroney (full face never revealed but I knew the moment I heard his voice). Jacob wants to meet but Dad says “nope!” and then Sigourney Weaver shows up. She tells Jacob he can live with her until, y’know, life.

The messed up thing is that the movie is called ABDUCTION and not one single person the whole fucking time was ever or is ever abducted. WHAT?! It should have at least been called “Abduction”. At least.

I spent way too much time and too many words on this. Looking back, I don’t know why I did this.

* star: some kind of cool action sequences. Plus some good actors in a strange movie.

Warm Bodies (2013)

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Ah! A fresh take on zombies. Warm Bodies was either going to be awesome or awful. Okay, maybe it was going to be – as I like to say – awfsome. I hope you’re ready for spoilers because they’re gonna be coming at you left and right in 3…2…1!

Zombies exist. And our protagonist is some zombie teenager or early 20-something (we never really find out). He’s dead but he has complete and hyper-aware thoughts. His narration could pass for something one of those little shits in The Perks of Being a Wallflower would say. So I have to wonder, if he has all kinds of mental capacity to make witty jokes in his mind and take note of everything going on around him…why again is he a zombie and not just a guy who craves human flesh?

Moving on. He’s getting ready to chow down on some people and he comes upon a group of fresh-faced youths. Then he gets a peek at Julie Blonde Kristen Stewart and she’s so pretty he doesn’t even want to eat her.

But he will eat her boyfriend, Dave Franco. And he does. With like, no remorse. In this zombie world, when a zombie eats the brains of a person, he experiences all of the victim’s memories. Meh, not too shabby of an idea. Interesting, definitely.

So he eats Blonde KStew’s boyfriend and just as all of his zombie pals are about to descend upon her with their diseased mouths, he saves her by rubbing some of his weird, brown zombie blood all over her face and says “S-s-s-saaaaaaaaafe” and take her as his captive.

This zombie kid is in love with KStew 2.0. Is it just because she’s so super pretty or is it because he took on some of Dave Franco’s memories so he has this sense of history with her? I have no fucking clue. But he takes her and he keeps her captive. She really is not willing. She tells him to stay away from her and tries to run away. Twice.

And both times he saves her and brings her right back to his “home”, an abandoned airplane with all kinds of hip shit in it – mainly VINYL GODDAMN RECORDS. Yeah. They lay around listening to Bob Dylan and Bon Iver records. I’m so fucking sure. I’m so fucking sure a zombie can work a record player and appreciate how “deep” and “alive” vinyl is.

So what happens? These two craaaazy kids start a zombie/human revolution. They hold hands once and suddenly all of the zombies are like “Now that I’m seeing this…you know I’ve just really lost my taste for brains. I think I’ll just turn myself human!” and they kill the real enemy, the Bonies (skeletons that run in a very unnatural way and eat ANYTHING with a heartbeat), with zero remorse which is really kind of shitty. I mean, the whole time the zombies were like “Have mercy! We’re becoming normal!” but God forbid they give the Bonies a fighting chance to get their shit together.

The humans and zombies band together and an extremely anti-climactic climax occurs. The zombies become humans again. The world shall be restored or as people so cleverly kept saying, “exhumed.” Oh, ha ha, yeah we get your clever joke.

Ultimately, some dude with the urge to eat people kills a nice young man and eats his brain. He then takes said young man’s girlfriend captive, all the while masquerading as her savior. The girl gets Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with her captor. They turn all the zombies back into humans by using feelings and it takes little to no effort.

There you have it. Nothing about it was compelling, John Malkovich was ALLEGEDLY in this movie but it might as well have been a cardboard cutout of him, and the whol-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

* star (I kind of liked some of the soundtrack for my own ears. And Rob Corddry had like two good lines.

Nobody Walks (2012)

nobodyI really, really wanted to enjoy Nobody Walks. I mean, 1. Lena Dunham. I really enjoy her show “Girls”. 2. John Krasinski who is one of my dream men and an enjoyable actor. 3. Lots of feels (or so I thought).

But damn if I’m not getting sick of these movies. As cute as Olivia Thirlby is, does she have a vagina that produces gold coins if you have sex with her? Because every dude in that movie was trying to have sexy times with her. Her character, Martine, looks to be the inception of a new Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Gone is the weird, quirky, retro outfit-wearing girl who makes the lonely, lost guy discover all the beauty in life. Here comes the quiet, artsy, waif-ish, almost androgynous girl that seduces men of all ages, leaving behind the ruins of relationships as she moves on to do the same thing in another city probably.

Look at how handsome that man is. LOOK. Yes puh-lease!

Look at how handsome that man is. LOOK. Yes puh-lease!

We get it. You’re pretty and you have a quiet naïveté about you that makes you irresistible to pretty much everyone. You’re just cool. You’re doing your thing. You’re so absorbed in your art and the wonder of the world that it makes you seem nonchalant, when really it just makes you a dick.

I even got to see the annoying kind of scene that has been popping up in every “indie” kind of movie as of late. People dancing, kind of in slow motion to an 80s inspired, electronic, synth-y song with lots of vocals that scream “I can’t be bothered to open my mouth all the way and annunciate my words so I’ll just moan and garble some shit.” This movie’s song was “Camouflage” by Small Black. It’s annoying. When these kinds of songs come on at parties nowadays, people do one of two things: they either become very bored and say something like “I’ve been trying to quit, but I could totally go for a cigarette. This song is boring, wanna smoke?” or they proceed to start talking at unnecessary decibels about things that they read about one time on Huffington Post so obviously, they’re experts.

In other words, no one really wants to hear these songs at parties. Put on “Come On, Eileen” and behold the masses enjoying every moment of the song. That’s what the people want.

Point is, I was bored. The whole movie is a denouement (all right, sorry, I’m getting film-y). A denouement is basically the return to normality after conflicts and a climax. I’m not saying every movie has to follow a typical structure – in fact, changing it up is welcome – but I don’t want to watch a movie that’s a straight line. No rise, no fall, no nothing. The movie went something like this (and it’s a spoiler, so…):

Martine: (Gets out of taxi) Hi. I’m Martine. I’m here to make mediocre art that you’ll be way too impressed with and thusly, fall in love with me.
Peter: Oh? I don’t think so.
Martine: Here is my art. It is a video of ants.
Peter: Your art is amazing. You’re amazing. I love you. Let’s have sex.
Martine: We have just had sex. This doesn’t really affect me.
Peter’s wife: I can tell you guys had an affair. It is very obvious and I am not stupid. Martine, you have to leave.
Martine: I am leaving. Goodbye. (Gets into taxi)

There you go. I was bored. The best part was watching John Krasinski. Because he’s hot. Actually, there was a good poem in it, but it was supposed to be written by a 16-year-old which is just rubbish. If some 16-year-old girl read that to me I’d roll my eyes and tell her to fuck off.

* star (the acting was good and John Krasinski is hot.)