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"The Morningside Monster" Is The Least Of This Movie's Problems
4 March 2015 12:30 PM, PST
When I put on this badge, I don't give a rat's toosh who you are.
Oh good, warmed over horror tropes. Attack of the Morningside Monster (2014)--née The Morningside Monster--from director Chris Ethridge brings semi-supernatural horror to the Garden State when the local sheriff (Robert Pralgo) has to sort out a spate of local murder/mutilations happening in his sleepy burgh. It all started with this one small-time drug dealer chained to a table. He was a bit bemused, as you'd imagine, and then some masked weirdo comes in and starts cutting into him with a multi-tool when he should be using a circular saw. It's so annoying when people aren't using the right tools. But I suppose you go to war with the weapons you have lying around, you know like this Central American ritual mask. That mask was ridiculous.
- Jason Ratigan
"Laggies" Lacks Originality
3 March 2015 7:48 PM, PST
I found myself in a place, a kinda weird in-between place.
So we're on to the woman-child genre (cf. man-child). HBO's Girls is probably the most popular exposé on the phenomenon with respect to young women who fail at the earliest hurdles of adulthood. Then there's Frances Ha (2012), Bridesmaids (2011), and countless TV-movies to which Lynn Shelton adds, if not her voice, her direction with Laggies (2014). This is Shelton's first time directing a film outside of her written improvisational process to mixed effect. While its subject matter is a very near relative of her works thus far, it lacks her grounded emotional depth and instead provides a conventional (or at least familiar) story without the surprises or resonance one would hope for from someone with Shelton's indie sensibilities. That said, without Shelton, this movie is airing on Lifetime.
- Jason Ratigan
Still No Indication Of History In The "Swamp"
3 March 2015 6:46 PM, PST
If that gator got a taste for dog, he ain't gonna stop. If he'll eat a dog, he'll eat a kid.
It needs only to be said once, but Swamp People have no reason to be on the History channel. The mild connection that such hunting has taken place in Louisiana for over three hundred years is insufficient. That is not to say that The "Learning" Channel or Bravo couldn't pick this up as one of their better pieces of entertaining "reality". Being a Swamp People virgin, I must admit that the first HD, slo-mo shotgun blast into the first victim's small brain was rather disturbing. Then, the rather mocking use of subtitles also sparked off the first feeling of this show's designed meanness. But about halfway through the first episode, something clicked in my brain and I understood the entertainment value on display. These people are interesting.
Read more. »
- Jason Ratigan
"Bound By Flesh", And Budgetary Concerns
3 March 2015 5:14 PM, PST
I don't know a happy freak.
Documentary filmmaking is as varied a genre as any with fanatics that consume them exclusively. To the select, this is obvious, but to those who only dally in documentaries, the assumption is that documentaries are distinguished by content rather than form. The reality, however, is that in the same way a movie about a construction foreman (Locke (2014)) can be gripping, the quality of the film is determined by the same elements, fiction or non-fiction. Music, editing, "performance", insights, are all places where Bound By Flesh (2012) displays its importance by fumbling them completely despite a ostensibly fascinating subject.
- Jason Ratigan
With "Rosewater", Jon Stewart Highlights an Important Piece of History (...That He Helped Make)
1 March 2015 6:20 PM, PST
Rosewater, literally pressed from the folds of the flowers and combined with sweat to make an evocative fragrance popular in Iranian culture, and showered on the devout in holy places. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart makes his feature writing and directorial debut with a small, powerful film taking its namesake from the holy liquid and perverting it as the fragrance worn by the protagonist’s interrogator over the course of a 118-day solitary confinement in Tehran. Based on actual events, and inspired by the protagonist’s chance encounter with the actual The Daily Show in 2009 and, in a moment of life being stranger than fiction, the role The Daily Show played in his incarceration, Stewart departs from a career of comedy to tell an important story of fellow journalist Maziar Bahari and humanity’s global and eternal quest for freedom.
- Kyle North
"Malignant" Banks on Brad Dourif's Fame to Overcome its Faults
1 March 2015 6:00 PM, PST
Don't drink, Allex.
Allex (Gary Cairns) has a drinking problem. He goes to the bar and has a few then goes home to have a few more. Whiskey, mostly. Since the whiskey is probably more expensive at the bar, why not just save the money and get blackout drunk at home? I guess that's not the point. Anyway, Allex's problem has gone beyond forgetting how to spell his own name. He's gotten to the point where he won't even stop drinking even when a mad scientist (Brad Dourif) makes it so he's murdering strangers, friends, and co-workers during his blackouts. That's pretty bad. But, you know, his wife's died a couple months ago and she was very pretty and now he's got this enormous house in La to maintain all by himself. Of course he turned to drink.
- Jason Ratigan
"Dear White People" Reaches But Never Preaches
1 March 2015 5:52 PM, PST
Dear White People is a film I wish didn’t need to exist, but once you take into account the true-life examples of white folks throwing blackface or black culture parties without fully understanding the racist implications involved along with the rather excellent point made by the film’s strongest character (Tess Thompson) in its final minutes, you realize just how badly its point of view is needed. However, the pigheaded antics of some frat boys and the indifference of a student body who said nothing aren’t the only reasons for the film to exist; Dear White People bursts at the seams with examples of how every racial and ethnic segment of our society has a real problem with recognizing how deep the problems go. From reality television to Tyler Perry, both sides of the racial gap are doing their part to make things worse and exploit a culture for profit, »
- Lex Walker