Tag Archives: downfall

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.

 

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Jet Li’s Fearless

In what was meant to be Jet Li’s last Wushu epic, Jet Li busts out all the big guns for this film. Although he has made other films that feature his style of martial arts, it goes without saying that movies like The Warlords, The Forbidden Kingdom, and the Expendables (soon to be followed by a second) aren’t exactly focused around Li’s stunt action coordination or anything of the sort. I would argue that War, the movie with Jason Statham that followed this film, was a bit focused on Li’s destructive power of those around him, although the movie questions his identity. In either case, it wasn’t meant to be Jet Li’s last film, just his last display of his martial art’s competence.

In this film, based loosely on Huo Yuanija’s life as a martial artist, this movie follows Jet Li as Huo and his fights to bring back honor and national pride to a broken country. With the Western imperialism and Japanese pressure, Huo fights those foreign invaders in symbolic battles that show off the strength of pride that the Chinese people hold. If it came down to Jet Li’s acting to represent honor for China in this film, it may not hold as much meaning. I was just a bit thrown off by Jet Li’s acting in this movie. It seemed forced and comical at times, but it didn’t matter when he closed his mouth and pounced on some ass with his destructive moves.

Jet Li at his finest.

The movie starts off at a martial arts display tournament in which Huo must defeat 4 competitors from 4 different countries. Using weapons and hand-to-hand combat, Huo fights back the attackers in order to defend his country. Before the fourth battle commences, a flashback to Huo’s life before takes place. For 2/3’s of the movie. Huo remembers when he was a child, being instructed by his father Huo Endi (Colin Chou) and how honorable he was. His father would take him downtown to the battles that took place in raised rings between fighters in the town. In this particular fight, Huo’s father is defeated and Huo finds his resolve to never be fearful and always to win and gain honor.

You’ve impressed me.

This mentality almost becomes Huo’s downfall when he won’t allow the attacking of one of his disciples to be delegated in a civil, non-violent manner. Quin Lei (Chen Zhihui) the rival martial arts master defies Huo and his newly found hubris and fights to the death versus him. With his ruthless manner, something not encouraged by his father, Huo kills Lei and retreats into the countryside to really reevaluate just what it means to participate in martial arts. (I left something out there, watch to find out.) Learning mercy and the righteous path, Huo finds himself in a position to fight for the honor of China.

This film has a lot of moving parts that really present a historical piece that is actually one of my favorite genres. Huo is a real person, and these events of his life weave a very compelling story. The fact that he fights for the honor of China at the end is a stab at those countries that would dare impose themselves on others, as the fights suggest. The tribute at the end to the dojos that are dedicated to Huo and his principles is a nice ending for the film and the events that

Some of my favorite weapons fighting.

transpire.

The fight scenes in this movie are really what stand out though. The rings that these men fight in are very stylistically stunning. Especially the fight between Huo and the man who beat his father’s son, is ridonkulous. The poles and camera angles that effortlessly flow through the fight scene really caught me by surprise. I always knew that Jet Li was a phenomenal fighter and stunt actor, but this movie really pulled out all the stops. His penchant for stunts and choreography, especially the weapon related fights show a lot of discipline and knowledge that I admire. Not being a martial arts expert myself, I’ve seen enough martial arts and have read up enough about it to know Jet Li has got his shit in order.

This big white dude shows up far too often in martial arts films…

The success this film had and the amount of good reviews it is given are just, but I felt, as some others have, that the film had its down moments that kinda left it at middle of the road. Yes, it didn’t have the acting oomph that would’ve elevated it to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it was well above some of the straight to DVD martial arts films that’re out there. The story itself is inspiring and films like this are what make me wanna be a director. I’d equate it to a Cinderella Man type of film with the action and drama equalling each other out.

I am now psyched to hear that there are two other versions of the film, two of them depicting a more developed love/rejuvenation plot with Michelle Yeoh and a THAI BOXING SCENE. I wish they had included that in the theatrical version. My favorite form of fighting is Thai Boxing/Muay-Thai fighting. It’s one of the only forms that could take out Jet Li and I guess that’s why they were afraid to include it. I would still love to see a fight between Tony Jaa and Jet Li. Hell, Tony Jaa and anyone. Other than getting a bit of a boner over these martial arts masters, I thought this movie was very positively geared towards the Chinese community that Jet Li and director Ronny Yu were representing. It’s a great

Thank you Jet Li and Ronny Yu, for making a movie China can be proud of.

message to all those action stars from non-Asian countries. Back the hell off, we have pride, and that pride will stomp all over you. That message and this film deserves a 8.1 out of 10.


Cyberbu//y: I CAN’T GET THE CAP OFF

Are you crying from watching this horrid movie on Youtube, Emily Osment?

You may be alarmed at the use of capitalization in the heading for this review. But what you should be more alarmed about is the content of this movie. In an effort to stop the gross amount of cyberbullying that has gone on in the past decade, Cyberbu//y the movie was created.  And instead of raising my awareness and sympathy for the cause, this movie took the whole movement quite a few steps back. At least, from a cinematic perspective.

So Taylor Hillridge (Emily Osment) is a typical high schooler. Stigmatized by Hannah Montana she may be, but normal all the same. She has two rad friends, Samantha (Kay Panabaker) and Cheyenne (Meaghan Rath).  One’s a fellow Disney channel star, the other, a sexy ghost on Syfy. Word.

Then, oh my god! Taylor gets a laptop for her birthday. I find it funny they never indulge her age, but hey, Meaghan Rath is 25…  What’s the first thing you do when you get your own personal computer? Apply to a Faceobook rip-off website that asks you what color your underwear is. And also doesn’t allow you to block unwanted friends. Sounds like a plan.

Is that the Xbox symbol? What?!?

So Taylor does so and unfortunately enters the world of cyberbullying. With a simple use of “bitch”, Taylor is relentlessly assaulted by one of the ugliest popular girls I have ever seen in my life. If there’s someone who should have been relentlessly bully beaten, it was this girl. If they were going for the ugly girl you have to hate because they think they’re pretty, then they hit the nail on the head. Either way, don’t hire Nastassia Markiewicz.

Her mother had all the opportunities in the world to delete her "Cliquesters..."

How many sentences can I use to tell just how horribly inaccurate and coarse this movie was? Yes, it was a movie for ABC Family T.V., but this movie barely scratched the surface on the harshness of teenagers. All those hormones flying around and the best they could do is talk about STD’s and pregnancy? Two things that would be self-evident the second the person showed up at school. But no, I must withhold my judgment. This is a harsher time, a worse off place in this magical land of ABC wonderment. No real world problems are dealt with here. The entire movie my head was full of evil retorts that could’ve been used to right the situation. Oh, the audacity.

I don’t wanna spoil every scene of ridiculousness in this movie (anything that Jon McLaren does as Scott is worthy of this) but there are quite a few. So I’ll just show this:

Now, my idea is to take every character, in a viral video I’d love to make, and recast all the characters. In this short video, I’d have every character, every time they have trouble or become sad, and have them have to deal with a pill bottle. Because what this film has taught me is that for some uneducated suicidal teens, pill bottle caps save lives. And I will use this ridiculous scene from the movie to illustrate that.

This girl wanted to get even. The other kid was a fruit.

What more is there to say about this? This movie is based on a girl who did kill herself after cyberbullying. Where’s the HBO version of this? Why doesn’t the girl succeed and they continue with the effects her death has on the family? This movie just didn’t roll on the issue as hard as it should have. I wanted some bullying that was worth dying over. Not some viral video of a girl with a bag on her head pretending to be a prostitute. Not to advocate any of this, but sometimes it takes a Holocaust proportion example to move people’s awareness. Just saying, not to be a horrid person.

A disgusting plate of horridness.

But let’s move past the issue. The acting, for the most part, was actually okay. Other than Scott. That kid needs to quit acting altogether. But yes, for the most part, the acting was accurate. But where it fell short was that this was 2011 film that struggled to keep up with a changing teen scene. It was stuck back in Myspace when people have moved on to Facebook. The pettiness has become more frightening. It’s fierce, and the lingo lacked luster. The situation seemed vague to encapsulate a teenager’s life, and the melodrama of a Lifetime movie shone through. Unfortunate and ruinous in the end.

So watch this if you have no idea what the internet is. Watch this if you like Disney channel. Just don’t watch this if you want to be moved and informed on the topic of cyberbullying. Actually, scratch that. Watch it for the humor because of its downfall. It falls hard. 4.1 out of 10.

For shame, if only Haley Joel knew...