Tag Archives: breath of fresh air

The Sitter: The Fat Before the Form

Okay, so by the title you might have noticed I’m gonna focus a lot on Jonah Hill in this review. The movie is basically about him right? But unlike the woefully misinformed Rotten Tomatoes that thinks that “groundbreaking originality” is the only thing that gets a high rating (along with “the reviews” it claims), I actually kinda liked this movie. Who says that sticking to a plot device that works so well with all those other movies

Close dat mouth, tubby.

(Superbad, Knocked Up, any sort of out on the town trouble film with hijinks) is all that bad? Sure it may not be “fresh” (what the hell does fresh have to do with movies anyways?), but it sure made me laugh, the whole point of comedies, remember?

So what clicked so well with me in this movie? This is the first film where Jonah Hill gets to stand alone. No Michael Cera, no Judd Apatow cast, it’s all him. And to see a sidekick comedian like Hill perform wellis a breath of fresh air. I admit it, Superbad was a flop of a film for me, couldn’t get into it. Ever since then, sorely disappointed with Judd Apatow & gang.

Never made Minivans look so ballin’.

(And that’s from someone who considers The 40 Year Old Virgin his favorite comedy, followed closely by any Jim Carrey film.) And why did I find Jonah Hill so funny now instead of all those other times?

He embraced his inner Farley. Plain and simple.

From the first time he gets sprayed in the mouth with perfume, to getting laid out by a black chick, he kept me laughing with never-gets-old slapstick. Something you don’t see in these gross-out, absurdist films these days. He went off the rails a little bit and he looked mighty comfortable in the role he was in. I know now he’s lost weight, but he was going after it as the fat man falling through quite a bit of this movie. And still gets the chick.

So let’s back this bitch up a bit and go back to the plot. Noah (Jonah Hill; I’ve always wanted to call him that for some

Gotta be jive to stay alive (one of my favorite scenes).

reason…) is a couch potato pansy that got kicked out of college. He doesn’t do anything with his life and disappoints everyone around him. He’s capable, he just doesn’t apply himself (sounds like myself…). His dad left his mom and him for a babysitter, and he has always had an attitude since then. But it’s all going to have to change if he’s going to cover this babysitting job his mom needs him to take.

The after lights out night life.

So after meeting all the tikes, Noah gets a call from his “girlfriend” asking him to buy some blow and head on over for some sex, the first time in his life (I think…). Without thinking, Noah heads out in the baller ass mini van and hauls it all over to Craig (Sam Rockwell) in order to get the goods. What happens in the course of that ride is what makes for some pretty sticky situations. Formulaic, they may be, but decently funny all the same.

This is one of those movies that I haven’t seen since Role Models that actually had good child actors. (Ronny will never be beaten though.) Slater is played by Max Records (ironic name, no?), the kid people may remember from Where The Wild Things Are. His panic attack of a character isn’t all that funny, but more of the straight man in the group (oh the

Kaah-Kaah!

puns…). Kevin Hernandez, a kid I’ve never seen before, plays Rodrigo, the bad boy in pajamas and cowboy boots. In some strange manner, he plays the Latino stereotype everyone is afraid of, or something… I wasn’t sure. And rounding out the group was Landry Bender as Blithe, the celebrity-slut in the making. She was adorable, and, like Ronny, said some things kids basically learn from rap music. Sad.

Throw in a hilariously psycho performance from Sam Rockwell and you have a well rounded out cast. All you gotta do is add the mass amounts of African American kids that Noah went to school with and you paint a picture of an unnamed town with a nice suburban feel and

Taking him back to El Salvador, eh Jonah?

a threateningly urban vibe. Because what film would there be if Noah didn’t run into some major problems with the homies? Oh, and a bat mitzfah (did I get that right? That’s the female one… right?).

So with all the language and kids there to hear it, Jonah Hill brings this movie above decent for me to a pretty damn funny level. All the parts I saw in the trailer made me laugh just as much in the movie, and there were some great surprisingly funny scenes thrown in there as well. If you like Jonah Hill or just a decent film to laugh at, this movie should probably be on your short list of recent films to catch. I enjoyed the 90 minute semi-gut buster, and maybe you will too. 7.5 out of 10.

 

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Party Monster: Fabulous

Now how did I happen to come upon this movie? I’m pretty sure at some point my dad rented this movie and I sat down to check it out for a few minutes. The opening scene rolled and I saw Seth Green in some strange garb. Wondering what he could possibly be doing in this movie, I of course sat down and watched the rest. I was pleasantly surprised. I found Party Monster, the club story of Michael Alig and James St. James to be a standout movie to me with its content and acting. Knowing very little about the club scene in NYC of the

A little taste of some club kids.

1980’s and 90’s (other than that there was one), this movie was a breath of fresh air and done in such an interesting way, for me, that I have to rave (sorry for the pun) about it for a post. Bear with me.

Party Monster is the documentary turned feature film that was first referred to as Disco Bloodbath by James St. James, the author of his own memoirs. After the film Party Monster was released, he changed his book to a title of the same name. The book features James’ club life as a Club Kid of the 80’s and 90’s, and his friendship with Michael Alig, the self proclaimed “King of the Club Kids”. It all ends in ruin though,

Culkin’s fearless role.

for Michael, while James has kept up a stunning career involved with some art collections and blogging (gotta dream the dream right? Be up there with James St. James someday…).

The film starts out with a recreated interview with Seth Green playing James St. James. From the start, we are given this surreal interview (parts of Party Monster are based on the shockumentary) in which the film interacts with James’ retelling. With a heavy drug influence and surreal dance scene, we begin to realize this is more of a fabulous retelling mixed with a truthful undertone.

I have to say how impressed I was with Macaulay Culkin’s performance in this film. I think it was right of one critic to call it “fearless”. Coming from a well known and loved kid actor and maturing into what we see in front of us on camera, it is a strange change. He

That’s pretty camp-esque.

has become even more aloof (he doesn’t discuss his personal life regardless) and what just seems more drawn from the world than usual. His drug charges, relations to Michael Jackson in his youth, and a shaky parent/child relationship attributed to the actor we see today. And I’d say I was blown away by his performance. He presents a character in a fast paced world of clubbing, drugs, and sex. He has no filter, no inhibitions. He takes what he wants. And he does it all with a vague, drug addled look on his face that screams with pain behind the eyes. It was haunting at the same time that it was surreal and campy. Impressive.

Too ironic that this actor has played 2 characters named Angel…

I think the same and to a lesser degree goes for Seth Green. Although his life wasn’t as “complicated” as Culkin’s was, Seth Green was a child actor as well (Stephen King’ It, for example in 1990). He has become wildly successful in my book with Robot Chicken among other works, and I found this role to be a change of pace. Playing a flamboyant and glamorous club kid like he did (which pales in comparison to pictures, unfortunately), I was still fond of the semi-bravado he brought to the film. He still gets a nod for a job well done from me.

This movie and the documentary are a cult classic. And not the typical cult classic I’d watch that centers around a failed

Did I fail to mention Marilyn Manson had a transsexual role in this film? Oops…

action/horror movie. This movie is a representation for a different walk of life. For wanting to live bigger than yourself with dreams of being who you are, and showing that on the outside with how you dress and act (minus the drugs, I’d hope). The fans of Rocky Horror Picture show, the club kids of today, the LGBT community should feel empowered by such a successful and powerful role model.  A couple of individuals who brought NYC to its knees in the 1980’s and 90’s, now that’s impressive. Every decade has its Kings, and these Club Kids were it.

Green and the realest of St. Jameses.

So overall I was impressed with the film’s content and delivery. Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have brought to light a film about the fabulous and the downfall. My eyes have been opened to another side of life, and I found it quite interesting. For those who want to broaden the mind and see what it’s like for 90 minutes to live glam like a skrod, check this film out. 7.7 out of 10.

 


100 Feet

It’s not every day you see Famke Janssen under house arrest for killing her husband. And it’s not every day that you see a vindictive poltergeist wreaking havoc all over her life for killing him. In this version of what I would consider Jennifer Lopez’s “Enough” gone wrong, Famke Janssen is haunted by her husband she killed in self defense. There are some frightening scenes and I really enjoyed the way that the jumpy scenes are strewn throughout without warning, not just built up until the end. With a minimal cast and quality acting, this was a horror movie that was unfortunate that I hadn’t seen sooner.

Marnie Watson (Janssen) is a newly paroled felon who has just been released from prison and given house arrest in her house. This is the very house that she killed her husband in in self defense. A little twists is that her husband was a police officer, and the partner cop to the man who will stalkingly watch her for the rest of the film, Officer Shanks

Famke Janssen, terrorized all over again.

(Bobby Cannavale). I was semi-impressed with Cannavale’s performance in this film, only because it wasn’t a stretch for him to play a hardened Brooklyn cop. He’s a character actor and it’s all good.

So Famke’s ass gets locked up with a house arrest anklet that only allows her to go within a 100 foot radius in her own house. If she leaves the confines of the house, the alarm will set off and she has only seconds to return to the barrier. This is a problem because parts of her huge and nicely furnished house are off limits to her, including the basement. Plot device, anyone? So Marnie returns to a semi-life of normalcy and goes about buying groceries, cleaning house, ad finding anything she can do to keep busy.

The face of a wife beater…

It’s not any help that the entire neighborhood doesn’t believe that she fought in self defense to save herself. Looked down upon by everyone, only one delivery boy, Joey (Ed Westwick) finds no problem with her. Attempting to be her friend, Marnie copes with a life of solitude. Until her husband starts attacking her from beyond the grave. In a series of scenes that bust up her and her house, Marnie starts reliving all the horrible beatings her husband gave her in life. And this time around, Marnie has had enough of this poltergeist B.S. She’ll fight back at any cost necessary. Without being able to leave her house, this plot restricts her from running away. It’s time to kill again.

I really liked the simplistic plot of this film. It was a creative idea, although I’m not sure they would lock her up in the same house she killed in, as poetically justified it may seem. There are some great haunting scenes in the movie involving a lot of things breaking (including some bones). Ed Westwick plays a reasonably real character in this film, although he’s a straight tool for his work on Gossip Girl. I’d say this is one of his better works. Hauntings and devilish exorcisms and demons are more my style when it comes to horror, so this movie was right up my alley. There’s a great kill scene in the movie, and, although the CG effects in this movie are a bit Syfy channel middle of the road, it doesn’t detract from the whole overall

I know I’ve been stalking you for a while now, but did you know you look like that read headed wench from X-men?

experience of the movie. It’s brutal, and it does the job of performing as a threatening and horrifying film (didn’t scare me much, but all the same, the lights were on).

Most of the time, I’m a tool.

The one thing that will either disappoint you or make you laugh will be the end of the film. There’s some strange confrontation and a ridiculous explosion of an ending that would give Michael Bay a boner. It ruins the whole otherworldly feel of the movie and gives rise to a really dumb explanation of why he’s haunting her and how to stop him. Everything is resolved and, in a really sloppy style for a poltergeist, Shanks believes her and gives her the happy ending she wanted from the beginning. It just really comes down to the sub-par dialogue at the end and that explosion. I can’t get over how that ruined the movie.

But, from beginning to middle, this movie was well executed. It has the right amount of horror and plot, jumpy scenes and furthering events. Famke Janssen did her job (not as Phoenix from X-men, obviously) and gave the woman in peril role new meaning. She fought back with a butch attitude I wasn’t entirely expecting. She doesn’t frighten away like most women do in films and really sticks it to her husband in the film. There’s a real in your face attitude about this horror movie and that made it a breath of fresh air. It’s only the ending that takes down the rating. I’ll give this little horror film a 6.2 out of 10.

Janssen won’t back down easily.


Cat Soup: Horrifically Cute

This little gem from Tatsuo Sato is the story of cats. It’s a messed up story about cats. These cats are strange. There’s a family of them. And a pig. Which they eat. By unzipping him. It’s strange. But at the same time cute. Yeah…

Anyways, basic plot is that the little boy cat goes on a journey with his brain dead sister (who has only half of her soul recovered) to recover the other half of her soul. The go to a circus, travel on Noah’s Ark, meet the most sadistically crazed man I’ve ever seen, and witness some ending of the world. You could say the little cat-boy really loves his sister.

Coming into this, I gotta tell ya, the trailer for this was freaky. And it ended up being so. Not all that freaky, but more the disturbingly quirky route. I mean, these two cats cannibalize and beat to death a pig, who seems to be their friend. He gets destroyed. Hardcore. Obliterated. And he takes it like a champ. You gotta give some props to a character in a short film whose only purpose is to die so that others can live.

And yes, this anime has some allusions to global warming or a second flood. Just in general some environmental end of the world. I don’t get it. But it was a cute little 32 minute film to watch. The characters are quite cute. The music that accompanies the characters is also quite powerful and moving as well. Although there are no audible lines, there are a few thought bubbles here and there, the anime is purely visual.

In all honesty, this short anime film was a breath of fresh air. I rather enjoyed the morbid humor and unique transformation of images that occurred throughout. It’s short and grabs your attention for every minute and, in that way, not a minute of the film is wasted. You can walk away from it however you like, but it’s a nice little horrifically surreal cat film. Worth a watch. 8.3 out of 10.