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Well, sorta. Some of the characters in this film reminded me of some of
the ones in "Pulp Fiction". That and the fact that "Pulp Fiction" told
different stories as well and would occasionally make me laugh.
In "Burning Palms", we get five tales that all take place around Los Angeles. The synopsis states that they all interlace but that's a crock, don't believe it. Only one character, Dr. Shelly (Doherty), shows up in more than one story... and the patients of hers never even crossed paths. I couldn't think of a better place to set an anthology film than L.A. (well, maybe Las Vegas, but that would have cost a lot more) because of all the weird goings-on and the very eclectic mix of people they have running around there.
Let's break this thing down and see what we got here, shall we?
Segment 1 - "The Green-Eyed Monster" - Dedra (Pike) and Dennis (McDermott) await the arrival of Dennis' daughter, Chloe (Meade). Apon arrival, Dedra can't get over the fact that Dennis and Chloe are close. Very close. Probably the most disturbing tale but unfortunately, the end result wasn't exactly the pay-off I was hoping for as it left some things open.
Segment 2 - "This Little Piggy" - Chad (Hoffman) and Ginny (Chung) are your average couple but Ginny feels a little insecure because Chad likes big breasts -- so, she agrees to a sex act to hopefully put her mind at ease. It does not. In fact, it drives her completely bonkers. This one is my second favorite segment of the movie, a very funny tale that would have had a better shock ending had they cut one short scene from it.
Segment 3 - "Buyers Remorse" - Tom (Mount) and Geri (Macdissi) are a gay couple in West Hollywood who want to adopt a child. They acquire a little African-American girl (who they callously name Mahogany) via the Black Market. There's something off about her and these two guys obviously shouldn't be in possession of a child. The story itself is not all that great, but the dialog and antics of Mount and Macdissi are, which more than make up for it for me. Ending could have used a little polishing as well, but again, I'm not complaining -- this one kept me entertained and laughing.
Segment 4 - "Kangaroo Court" - Mary Jane (Bell) looks after three tween boys in a mansion, complete with maids (Barraza, Vega). When something of value to one of the maids goes missing, the brattiest kid turns the living room into a courtroom and stages his own "Court TV" (only real) to get to the bottom of things. Lake Bell is the only reason to watch here, she's got some pretty funny lines and the big reveal at the end wasn't all that shocking or disturbing.
Segment 5 - "Man Eater" - The second most disturbing tale opens with the rape of Sarah Cotton (Saldana). And that's not even the disturbing part. She finds a wallet in her home of one Robert Kane (Stahl), the man who violated her. She tracks him down and has plans of her own...
Overall, this was a fun one to watch. It held my interest all the way through and I had some good laughs throughout. The film would have flowed better had they put the stories in this order: Kangaroo Court, This Little Piggy, The Green-Eyed Monster, Buyers Remorse and then Man Eater. It's important in anthology films to have your weakest link first... in order to build up each story, as they get more and more shocking. And it would have rated higher if they would have connected the stories somehow, it could have easily been done. As I said before, Doherty does show up in two of the segments and she was highly annoying in both. I do recommend it as long as you're not easily offended by sex acts (Buyers Remorse) -- there is no nudity in that segment but it is heavily implied and more. For more reviews, visit www.soveryterry.com Final Grade: B-
...was the tagline for this flick, so it caught my interest. Burning
Palms is a film that tries to push boundaries and would only upset
tight conservative folk. It seems to try too hard and comes off a bit
juvenile. There are 5 stories, they act as their own stories and do not
interconnect with one another as some ads might say. They are told from
a comic book, a tales from the crypt style thing, minus the hilarious
The first deals with a couple who are getting married. The husband to be is seeing his daughter for a week, she is flying down from wherever she was. Innocent enough, until you find out that the relationship between the two is a little too close for comfort. They openly talk about sex, sunbath nude and dance erotically. The soon to be wife is taken back and tries to get the the bottom of the "relationship".
The second deals with a couple in college or university. He loves big boobs, she has small ones/ During sex, the man asks the girlfriend to stick her finger in his anus. She does so because she doesn't want to lose him to a bigger chested woman. After the act, she gets it stuck in her mind that her finger smells like poo, so she scrubs and scrubs until she finally decides to cut the finger off.
The third story has two gay men adopting a black child from the black market. She seems to be straight out of Africa because she doesn't say a single word to anyone, yet grabs a spear and throws it at an animal and growls. Thinking they are over their heads with a child, they leave her alone in the woods and get a dog instead.
The fourth story is the least exciting one. Three young and spoiled boys hold a "Court TV" bit in their house when a valuable item from the housemaid goes missing. We discover a dark secret from the housemaids past that turns things upside down in the house. Their stoner babysitter laughs at the sticky situation.
The final and last segment actually happens to be my favourite, and the one redeeming factor in this film. The story opens with the Rape of Sarah. After the rapist flees, she finds his wallet under her couch and decides to track him down. When she does, he soon finds out she has some sick and disturbing plans of her own.
The final segment with have one thinking of a rape revenge bit, but that's where the story wants you to go and the direction it takes itself is something I applaud. I was surprisingly taken back at the last one and it had the best performance. It helps that the two leads were Zoe Saldana and Nick Stahl.
Overall, a lackluster film that wants to be more 'dirty' than it actually is. Who knows, maybe I'm one demoralized sicko and this film actually is twisted. But if you've seen half the films I have, you'll find this pretty tame and immature.
I feel compelled to report on this film which I watched on DVD last
night. It is the first film I have chosen to report on here for quite a
It is an interesting film at best but not more. All the above comments about the lack of entertainment of the film overall are totally justified and it is certainly a film in bad taste, have no doubt - a father making provocative sexual gestures to his teenage daughter in front of his obviously offended wife/girlfriend, a young girl confused about her sexuality and the hygiene of anal sex, the morality of a gay couple adopting a child from a different culture, a kangaroo Courtroom held by spoilt and out of order kids while masochism and revenge are to some extent a feature of the last story.
All the stories are interesting in their own way. Although the Doctor appears in Row of the stories, NONE of the stories link in any way except that they all take place in different suburbs of Los Angeles.
The basic storyline of the five stories are attention seeking, the ending distinctly disturbing. Dark comedy or not, we should not overlook that the film is intended for entertainment. In the first segment, there is very little to make me laugh.
The most entertaining segment was certainly the gay couple and their mission to adopt, either a child at any cost or a dog as an alternative and then the two guys with their 'pet child' meeting another similar couple with a 'pet child' in a shopping boutique.
The last segment merited closer scrutiny but we were denied the opportunity to understand how the young lady found courage to handle her rape situation after the event and approach the guy who did it. I feel there was such a wasted opportunity with this storyline in particular to take it further.
for example, the rapist could possibly have been one of the children holding the Kangaroo Court a few years before, not sure about link to the other story.
There was momentary humour in the second story when it was explained to the girls parents what was the reason for her psychological paranoia but it was humour misplaced because the scene was essentially a sad one.
Not sure at all why it was called 'burning palms' unless it is reference to being caught 'red handed'? The film is NOT rubbish and is worth watching. Certain scenes may offend but overall sexuality is moderated considering the extremity of the concept to the story lines and profanity is not as bad as you might think.
You could easily watch this movie and feel you 'get something' out of it. That is not to say it is a good movie, it is not.
Make up your own mind!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i loved this film and the fact that it was brilliant in it's use of
allegory and imagery! early on i definitely realized that there was at
least one very over the top image in each vignette. not only is it a
great way to re-engage a viewer to significance but you can also push
boundaries which they chose to do! excellent. taboos need to be pushed
occasionally just to show how much our world is messed up and to test
your own moral compass. this succeeds admirably.
i love the comic book/graphic novel/pulp rag horror comics style. it works in the film as a good transition and i think sells the whole concept of short vignettes with a common theme.
this movie will turn some viewers off. just be aware that it is probably an even money guess if it was intended so or not. but the film still retains a sense of humor especially about itself.
a very strong 9 for me on this. i don't feel this way often about movies but when i do i tend to go with my instincts and like it despite what "joe schmoe" thinks of it. it is a cerebral film which most people will not get.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I haven't laughed this much for a long time at a movie. This movie
really was funny, even more so than a Will Farell, Jack Black, or Ben
Stiller comedy. If you have any sense of humour, and you understand how
funny soap opera can be, this is for you.
Yes, this is a comedy. The second story, This Little Piggy (which I also dubbed "The Poo Finger") was downright hilarious. What's more, if you've done some PSYC, you'll know that there are certain disorders that result in this kind of behaviour (there is a term for association to odours). In any case, we know that Ginny is experiencing a psychological problem when she sees Jesus on the cross telling her to break off her finger.
The third story, Buyers Remorse, was also very entertaining, and the music was perfect. The gay couple interacting with each other made for hilarious scenes, and really brought to mind memories of drama sketches. I laughed real hard when the first word Mahogany said was "faggot". Great!
I think the movie did a great job at being original, and I credit it for its unique approach. There were certainly some pitfalls, such as the storyline and plot, but overall, I found the acting to be superb. The script needed some work.
Overall, I would recommend this movie as a rent. It's definitely worth seeing if you want to be entertained. But I warn watchers to open their minds to the meanings of each of the stories, as they can be interpreted in many ways. And really, if you don't laugh at "the Poo Finger," ask yourself why.
Also, as a side-note for anyone wondering: I'm pretty sure I heard variations in the psychologist's accent, and as the boy in the Kangaroo Court suggests to her, I am also inclined to believe she was faking an accent. That boy would have to be pretty bright to piece together the nanny's murdering of her child.
I am not sure if this was meant to be ironic, subversive or surreal, but it failed on every level. Framed as stories in some demented comic book, it isn't presented as 'different' enough to be believable as a comic story. It comes off as racist, sexist and just generally unpleasant. The actions of the characters are so unbelievable and irrational as to drive me to distraction. The acting is just awful in most cases. It is supposed to be some comment on Los Angeles, yet it is just absurd. There was potential for this to be insightful, witty or interesting, yet that was all frittered away with shock value and the extreme unbelievability of the characters. And because it was presented in a normal world, this makes it all the frustrating. It was just unrelentingly bad.
What is normal? This is a movie about five different groups of people.
A very close father and daughter. A boyfriend with a strange bedroom
habit. A gay couple who want to adopt. A boy who is a borderline
psychopath, and a women who falls in love with her attacker. Very, very
strange. Very offensive in parts, and also pretty good. This movie I
really liked, and I don't think I should of. When you watch it you will
see why. This is a hard movie to recommend because of the subject
matter. But if you like movies that are very different and not a movie
that has been re-done 50 times this is the one for you. I liked it, but
again if you are easily offended do not watch this. I give it a B.
Would I watch again? - I don't know if I would *Also try - 11:14
Writer/Director Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity 1- 4,
Disturbia, Dirty Sexy Money) has pasted together five unrelated stories
and placed them before the audience like an O'Henry buffet. Cast with
some excellent actors (one wonders why they signed on to this project)
some of the stories work better than others, but the problem is that
the story line of each deals with some dark material that is placed in
an attempted comedic vein: most are not at all funny.
Traveling around different areas of Los Angeles Landon pulls up situational stories that are apparently supposed to represent life in those particular zones. Very bad for tourism as well as somewhat challenging for the real neighborhood personnel! Santa Monica: a woman (Rosamund Pike) becomes alarmingly concerned over her fiancé's (Dylan McDermott) unnaturally close relationship with his teenage daughter (Emily Meade). In Westwood, a sexual act requested by a man (Robert Hoffman) turns into a psychological obsession for a young woman (Jamie Chung). In West Hollywood, a gay couple (Peter Macdissi/Anson Mount) buys a young African daughter and attempts (unsuccessfully) to mold her to fit their lifestyle. In Holmby Hills, maladjusted kids and their equally maladjusted nanny (Paz Vega) play murderous games. In Sherman Oaks, a rape victim (Zoe Saldana) faces her violator (Nick Stahl) with a revenge all her own. There are lot of other fine actors caught up in this mélange but their roles are small.
Depending on your state of mind, these stories border on parody, black humor, sick outlook, and just uninteresting. The things presented as comedy .makes you wonder.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I beg of you...please don't waste 2 hours of your life on this movie.
It really has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Even if you spent that
time poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick and you'd still
likely have a more enjoyable time.
I have no idea how this movie can possibly be classified as a comedy. I have a very dark sense of humor and can see the funny in just about any situation, but nothing about any of these vignettes is in the least bit funny...An incredibly inappropriate relationship between a father and daughter, topped off by the dad's fiancé committing suicide? I don't see any humor in that. Then there's the girl driven to madness, cuts off her finger, and is institutionalized after participating in a (pretty vanilla) consensual sexual act? Still not funny. Then there is the gay couple...this story is offensive on SO many levels. Drug abuse, infidelity, buying a black market child who isn't the perfectly adjusted living doll they desire, so they abandon her in the woods? HOW IS THAT IN ANY WAY FUNNY!? Then the rich brats with the horrible nanny and baby-murdering housekeeper who hangs herself in their front yard? Sorry, I'm still not seeing the humor.
Then let's finish off this "comedy" with a woman being raped, then tracking down her attacker and making him do it again. While this is not at all funny, this piece was the only reason I rated this movie with a 2, rather than the 0 it otherwise deserved. This one was a little more thought provoking and well acted, and I feel it would have been a better stand-alone short film had it been explored a little more deeply, rather than just thrown in for shock value.
It's not that I don't "get" this movie. I get that they wanted to push boundaries and buttons, but that counts for nothing if done at the expense of weaving a great story and creating characters people can feel anything for.
"Burning Palms" is supposed to be a dark comedy. I didn't know if I was
supposed laugh, cry, or stare indignantly at the offensiveness on the
screen. I chose the latter. There was nothing remotely funny, nothing
emotionally-engaging, but everything filled with crimes being committed
or people who should be committed to a mental institution.
I'm assuming the entire point of such a film was for the shock value. But shock only matters if there's something to care about in the first place. These filmmakers do not want you to care about these characters, even if they do deserve care and support, they just wanted to laugh at them. But let me repeat, there is nothing remotely funny about any of this. Rape victims, child murderers, and suicidal women are not funny.
These filmmakers are probably sitting back laughing at me right now because I didn't get it. But what they don't understand is that the art of offending relies on either an underlying truth to the situation or a greater meaning or purpose. There is no redeeming value to "Burning Palms", just inappropriate actions being played out for no reason, or for inappropriate reasons, but either way this is not acceptable filmmaking.
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