Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Bad Batch (2016)
Desperately trying to be cool
This is another film that screams "I want to be a cult movie!" but just doesn't have what it takes. It starts out promising and then seems to have absolutely nowhere to go; it just becomes long, ponderous and self-indulgent. As someone who grew up going to midnight movies, "The Bad Batch" seems like its taken elements from these films ("El Topo," "Mad Max," "Kill Bill") and stitched them all together in the hopes it'll hit the mark somewhere. The performances in the film are adequate, but nothing in the script really demands much of the characters. Ms. Amirpour obviously had the support of actors like Diego Luna, Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves, all of whom are seen briefly, but I'm willing to bet they never saw much of a script. At two hours, there's probably half an hour of real material here, the rest just feels like padding.
I loved this
Like most of Todd Solondz' films I've seen, I thought "Weiner-Dog" was great. I think Solondz continues to be one of the most original filmmakers in the country. I haven't seen another director who is able to portray the droll, ironic, bittersweet perspective of life quite the way he does.
"Weiner-Dog" is a four-part character study revolving around a dachshund, and the stories and performances are funny, real and heartbreaking at times. The final segment with Ellen Burstyn is beautiful and very touching as it progresses. The film is not as subversive as his earlier works, but it's as original and intriguing as "Happiness." It's a relief to know that amid all the superhero blockbusters that Hollywood continues to churn out ad nauseum, films like "Weiner_Dog" can continue to be produced.
Flipping Vegas (2011)
A complete scam
From someone who actually bought a house in LV that was "flipped" by people like Scott Yancie - and got royally screwed when I found all the problems that were hidden away after the inspection - this show is as phony as they come. I've watched several episodes and every plot seems to be the same:
1. Scott and Aimee purchase a house sight-unseen and they're flabbergasted by the terrible state it's in; 2. They attempt to fix it up and encounter more problems ("Oh no, this is crazy!"); 3. Aimee spends too much money on tile or granite, and Scott is furious; 4. They meet the "open house deadline" right at the last minute and make a tidy profit every time. Scott agrees that Aimee did the right thing by overspending.
The most amazing thing about this show is that they seem to be able to rebuild an entire house for $15,000-20,000! The prices the contractors quote them are always ridiculously low.
Was anything actually authentic on this show or was it all staged? Two episodes featured them going into homes where amateur boxing matches happened and plastic surgery had been performed by previous owners. The camera cuts away to blood in different rooms and it was bright red, not dark from sitting there for a few days.
During quick exchanges to the camera by Scott or Aimee, you can actually see them reading cue cards.
Finally, they claim they have to make a tight deadline in every show in because they can't afford to pay a month's mortgage out of pocket, but there's never any mention of all the cash they're making off the episode from HGTV!
This show is a perfect example of how ridiculous the concept of "reality t.v." is. It's all a scam to build ratings.
Andy Samberg made this?!
Andy Samberg is a funny guy. I've always enjoyed his Lonely Island videos on Saturday Night Live and I like the fact that he gets outrageous and over the top. This movie is absolutely terrible, and I really looked forward to seeing it. It's not funny in the least, it's incredibly pedestrian, and very, very dull.
What was he thinking when he made this? The humor is like something out of a network sitcom and the script is dated and totally predictable. It clearly had a huge budget, and there are cameos from a lot of pop stars, and every single one of them is wasted. I think I laughed only one time in the film, and it was during a satire of TMZ.
Don't waste your time or your money on this. Twenty minutes into the film I realized it wasn't going to go anywhere and I found myself getting more and more impatient for it to be over. I finally gave up and walked out after an hour, which is something I rarely ever do.
I see a lot of films, and this is without a doubt one of the best I've seen in quite awhile. It presents so beautifully how conformity and organized religion stifles and twists and how badly the real person in all of us wants to be recognized for who we really are. The performances are so spot-on that it's almost eerie; having grown up in a Midwestern family very similar to this one I felt as though I knew every one of the characters.
The plot involves Henry Gamble, whose father is a preacher, who is given his 17th birthday party by his family and friends. Henry is realizing he may be gay, and as the party progresses throughout the afternoon and night everyone begins to show the various struggles they also go through being human and trying to adhere to the rigid expectations they've created for themselves.
What I found so impressive about this film is that all of the characters are fine, likable people who care about each other. Some of them, particularly the adolescents, are much more accepting of their differences and support each other; others aren't capable of doing that, especially as beautifully illustrated by a bitter, fearful mother who refuses to let her repressed daughter enjoy any of the party and never lets her out of sight. The daughter is heartbreakingly portrayed, and the image I couldn't seem to shake after the film was over was her testing the water in a swimming pool, wanting so badly to dive in.
It appears that HGBP has been released to pay-per-view and isn't being considered for a general release to theaters. This is a very timely film for 2016 and it would benefit so many if this project could receive the exposure it deserved. It's depressing to think that "Captain America: Civil War" will be bringing in crowds this weekend but very few people will know a wonderful film like this even exists.
I hope Steven Cone, who also wrote the amazing screenplay, continues to have the opportunity to make films. This is someone to pay attention to, as he is clearly a talented guy.
T.R. Baskin (1971)
Well done for its time
I finally got a chance to see a (poor) print of this film today after wanting to see it for years. I could appreciate its originality and sophistication for the time that it was made, but I was left wondering just what the film was really trying to say. It worked more as a character study than a film. The theme of the cruel and impersonal big city seemed to be a recurrent one in the 1970's (much like "Midnight Cowboy"), and seemed to be a symbol for the lost individual trying to find meaning in life.
I've never been able to believe Candice Bergen in any role I've ever seen her play, and this film is a good example. She's stiff and virtually emotionless in most of this, except for two scenes where her acting became so exaggerated that it was almost embarrassing; once where she laughs uncontrollably (more like shouts) when she is conversing with Peter Boyle and another at the end where she cries after a telephone conversation with her parents. They both sounded exactly the same, and were frankly kind of startling, leaving me wondering why the director allowed her to go so far and didn't ask for another take where she toned it down a little.
The "plot" never really goes anywhere. T.R. seems vacant, zombie-like and sarcastic, and the flashbacks gave me the impression they were being intentionally inserted to make a point when the film would come to an end. They didn't. The scenes in the film could have been played in real time as they happened and it wouldn't have made any difference at all.
There's some dialogue between Bergen and Caan in which she tells him that he "talks like a typewriter." I felt like this described a lot of the film; people don't talk or act this way, and I'm sure it looked great on paper. I can appreciate that this film portrayed a character and her experiences in a very different way for its time, but it didn't really seem to make a conclusion about anything.
I really wanted to like this movie but I felt absolutely nothing watching it; the film never seemed genuine to me.
The title is very misleading. Earl is hardly seen in the film, and the friendship between the two boys wasn't plausible or believable. Earl was not portrayed in a very sympathetic manner and seemed to me to be a cold, distant, unlikeable character. There was no chemistry between Greg and Rachel, and the film began to take on a morbid, hopeless feeling as it progressed. I have to agree with another reviewer here that the picture seemed more interested in being cute (the short films the two boys made, the self-deprecating humor from Greg) than developing any real characters or relationships between them all. I enjoyed "The Fault in Our Stars," and this reminded me of an attempt to cash in on the same audience, but it didn't have anywhere near the heart that the former film did. It would have been much more meaningful if Greg and Rachel had voiced some acknowledgement at the end that they had meant something to each other. Instead, the film tries so desperately not to be sentimental that it comes across as very distant and emotionless. The film had a very promising beginning, but went way downhill as it progressed.
7 Days in Hell (2015)
As much as I've always liked Andy Samberg, I was left wondering just why he chose this as a project. Forty minutes go by with very little continuity and (it appeared) no script. The whole thing seemed to be rushed and off the cuff and looked as though they completed it in about two-three days, and I don't think I laughed once. Even the co-stars (Howie Mandel, Mary Steenbergen, June Squibb, etc.) seemed wasted and their characterizations were tired and not particularly original. I think HBO has put out some incredible programming in the last few years but am wondering why they backed this, as it seems completely mediocre with no real point. Let's hope Samberg finds better projects in the future, he's way too good to be putting out stuff like this.
The Babadook (2014)
Wow, great movie!
This is a whopper of a horror film. The performances by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman as the mother and son were so authentic I was pulled way into the plot within the first 10-15 minutes. Watching Davis' gradual descent into madness (or was it?) was very reminiscent of Polanski's "Repulsion," however I felt this film was much more effective. "The Babadook" goes into some taboo territories that I've never seen explored in a movie before, and at times it almost becomes unbearable to watch. There is an atmosphere of uneasiness throughout most of its running time. I really hope this gets a formal U.S. release, it's one of the most original as well as one of the creepiest films I've ever seen. Reading Jennifer Kent's filmography, it looks as though she hasn't done a lot of directing; hopefully after the success of this we'll see more of her work.
All the Loving Couples (1969)
Strange but entertaining little film
I was pretty sure I'd seen all the "controversial" films produced in the 60's and 70's that really tested the MPAA's rating system, but this one I'd never heard of until now. It's a curious, low-budget effort about wife-swapping that received an X-rating upon its release. It has some clever, snappy dialog that at times almost takes us into a poor-man's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," territory, and the acting is actually pretty decent (most notably by Norman Alden, who you'll probably recognize as a well-known character actor). The plot revolves around a naive couple who join a group of wife-swappers one evening. The wife is initially shocked upon learning of the club's proclivities, but after realizing this is an attempt by her husband to cozy up to the wealthier members of the group in order to elevate their financial status, the story begins to take other turns. This was released the same year as the similarly-themed "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," but ATLC takes the action farther. I can imagine all the T&A as well as the idea of wife-swapping was probably pretty eye-opening in 1969, but today it's pretty much just a curiosity.
There are some bizarre aspects to the film, however, that made it stand out for me. Every 15 minutes the film takes us to a poorly-staged "commercial" in which each performer advertises a household or grooming product; then the film continues as though we were watching a television show. I was unable to figure out just what the director was actually trying to say by doing this, and the effect is a little jarring to the film's continuity. It also tries to take a very liberal standpoint re: its topic, but then while the couples are indulging in their sport each male suddenly has a (overly long) black-and-white fantasy ranging from chasing/being chased by lingerie-clad women, trying to pull their own headstone out of the ground, or a menacing doppelganger watching his performance from outside the bedroom window... and at this point the film seems to take on a more moral and puritanical stance. I was able to find one more review to ATLC online, and learned that the film was reportedly helmed by a "swinger" himself. It's unclear just what his moral stance on the lifestyle was as the film seems to swing back and forth.
I would recommend this to anyone as kind of a time capsule of the 60's-70's sexual revolution, and I can't say I ever got bored by it. For a low-budget film of that period I thought it actually displayed some good performances and a well-written script. I can't recommend the commercials or the black-and-white fantasy scenes, however.