Archive for the Just Fun Category

SITGES PT. II: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

The festival schedules a wide-ranging list of movies. This year I haven’t seen many proper horror films, but as I did watch some quite disturbing and suffocating and some quite dense, comedy-horror titles to have an easy break were very welcome.

Thus I watched Grabbers on Wednesday, and the other two, Sightseers and John Dies at the End, which were included in the marathon selection.

GRABBERS, Jon Wright (2012)

The typical cute island off the coast of Ireland, where nothing ever happens, is invaded by outerspace creatures, CthulhuKraken like, which easily adapt thanks to the rainy climate, and look for blood for feeding. By chance, the drunken fisherman, the two police officers in charge, and a the loud-off biologist, discover that these creatures are allergic to a certain percentage of alcohol in human body, and as good Irish, the will arrange everything to defeat them and restore piece.

These typical Brit-Irish comedies related to creatures follow more or less the same pattern, they are low budget, in this case approaching the beautiful nature locations, but with poor treatment to the creatures, ultra computerized. It’s entertaining but not brilliant, however, the way to fight the creatures provide some hilarious moments, and the Irish character and acting is always funny.

SIGHTSEERS, Ben Wheatley (2012)

No doubt this was the coolest surprise in the festival. I loved every second of this super black comedy. In the distance it reminded me of John WatersSerial Mom.

Tina (Alice Lowe) is a woman in her thirties living with her oppressive mother. They were devoted to their dog Poppy, who passed away recently, and they haven’t got over the tragedy. Chris (Steve Oram), Tina’s boyfriend, has planned a getaway route in his caravan, to let her discover his world. The couple seems to be one of these awkward families which we usually see in pictures, shy, fussy and too traditional, however, whenever they feel their holidays are threatened by strangers, the serial killer resting inside of them brings out merciless.

Sightseers is a road trip, a romantic comedy, and an orgy of murder, if you get chance, do not miss it. You won’t get disappointed.

JOHN DIES AT THE END, Don Coscarelli (2012)

When I think of Don Coscarelli, Phantasm saga and Bubba Ho-Tep escort the director , thus if his name is mentioned I always pay attention.

I got the chance to see his last work at the marathon, warned by some that it was a bit nuts. I didn’t feel discourage, to be honest, and instead of heading back home after Maniac, I decided to go for a walk and then watch the fifth story in the evening. I don’t regret having chosen the hardest option, which implied to arrive home super late, but after seeing the result, I must confess inside of me I’m banding my head against the wall. Johnny Dies at the End, based on Dave Won’s novel was everything I couldn’t have thought of, yet, it didn’t catch me.

Dave Won (Chase Williamson) has an appointment with a journalist (Paul Giamatti) in order to tell him the truth of the business he’s handling together with his best mate John Cheese (Rob Mayes) and the story behind their special abilities, which started to be noticed due to a devastating drug labeled as Soya Sauce, which opened the doors to another dimensions, and consequently enhanced their skills to detect evil creatures threatening human kind, forcing these  two college partygoers  to fight to save humanity.

I’m not really sure whether I was too tired and not in the mood, but I was surprised hearing the audience lively laughing. Really, the jokes weren’t so smart. The sequence of events and the flashback technique weren’t clearly exposed, and the result was quite chaos. The start of the story was appealing, but as the story is developing, loses its initial effect and goes flat. Nope, I didn’t buy it!

SITGES FILM FESTIVAL 2011 (PT. I)

Posted in Action!, Events, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

What a mess! Once again, it’s taken me longer than expected to update on this festival I attended a month ago already. My apologies!

Wish I could talk about more films from Sitges Film Festival 2011 edition, but unfortunately, not press registration, bad planning, and lack of time and money, only allowed me enjoy a wonderful Saturday in town. Can’t complain though, for I had tickets for just two films, and ended up attending 4,with a result of 3 positive and worth seeing, and one a total joke.

I’ve not too much experience regarding film festivals, but I’m starting to think they’re as worth attending as music festivals, especially if contents are related to genres you love.

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m trying to get more involved in the future, in order to discover new proposals, and opening to new stuff. And of course, the possibility of meeting friends and share interesting conversations regarding all this marvelous world is simply priceless, and helps you realize how much you still can learn, and set new targets you to focus on.

So here it is my Sitges experience I want to share with you. Hope you enjoy.

DRIVE, Nicolas Winding Refn (2011)

There are many components in this explosive cocktail as not to fail: Ryan Gosling, cars, pink neon credits, 80s inspired soundtrack, violence and blood…  Nothing could be wrong, and in fact it didn’t, Drive is gonna be the hype of the year, but it’s worth it, believe me.

The Driver, by Walter Hill, as a strong source of inspiration comes to mind immediately. And of course, memories of Bullit or Vanishing Point also spark underneath.

The driver (Ryan Gosling) is a workaholic. He devotes his life to work with cars, as a mechanic in a repairing shop owned by his mentor, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who also introduced him into Hollywood as a stuntman for car action scenes. Moreover, he performs occasional driving for robberies requiring a professional driver for the getaways.

He’s a guy with no identity, no attachments, not relatives known, and not a very talkative person or emotional either. Until he gets acquainted with his neighbors. A young woman, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her kid, Benicio. A kind of platonic story starts, with the shadow of Irene’s husband, serving prison for armed robbery.

In the meantime, Shannon is making business with dangerous people, in order to get enough money to develop a car prototype the driver would race with, involving lots of money. The associates, Nino (Ron Perlman) and Bernie Rose, are the kind of guys you don’t mess around with, and they accept to invest, supervising and nosing on the preparations as to ensure their money is safe.

Eventually Standard, Irene’s wife, is released from prison, which means the friendship among neighbors should logically come to an end, for obvious reasons. But nothing was said to be that easy, and Standard is attacked and beaten for unfinished business, up to a point if he doesn’t carry out a robbery at a pawn shop, his family will suffer the consequences. And who will do the driving? Easy to guess.

What seems to be a non risky job, turns out to be a trap, and the driver will be forced to apply all his skills and cold blood to get Irene, Benicio and himself out of danger.

The way the plot is developed is perfect. Opening with a robbery as a way of introducing the driver to the audience, as cold, calculating, and professional, is enough as to catch the bait.

Although the start of the film is powerful, according to the typical pattern of the action movies, with the first 5 minutes creating tension, the following change as to introduce us to the actual plot is radical in its rhythm, focusing on the strong attachment among the driver and his neighbors, Irene in special. There are some moments you can think of another cakey love story, as the tone is very evocative, takings are very artistic, and the whole thing is kind of bucolic. But it’s a good technique, to enhance the super blow to come.

Really, Drive is the perfect shot of action. It’s violent, dynamic, surprising, bloody and mean. Beware! It’s not to be related to last year’s major action releases, such as Expendables or Machete, better considered as just entertainment and a great laugh. Drive is serious in its story, not aiming to be taken as a joke. Characters are not super heroes but just the opposite. Standard is a vulgar robber, the driver is a mechanic and Irene is just a waitress. If you think of the mob side, involving Albanian mafia, believe me, there’s no glamour or attractive in that.

The cast is something to take serious. With Ryan Gosling, absolutely brilliant, confirming, not only he’s the most wanted man in the world, but also a great actor, with a promising future ahead, but also featuring one of the current hottest goddess Christina Hendricks, a rough Ron Perlman, and the innocent but seed of the whole mess, Carey Mulligan (truth is her performance is not so consistent).

Release date in Spain is due to the end of this month. Sure I will repeat and will go to the cinema to watch it for the second time. Believe me, this hype is worth seeing, and most likely is to be one of the films of the year. hope you like it!

KILLER JOE, William Friedkin (2011)

After an extense career as director, featuring more than 20 films, including classics such as The Exorcist, The Cruising or The French Connection, Friedkin is not expected to prove anything. Perhaps, because he can do whatever he wants, he’s delivered this shocking black redneck comedy this year, away from social politeness.

The Smiths are pure white trash. Dumped from his mother’s house, Chris (Emil Hirsh) asks his father for money and shelter. He’s in debt with Digger Soames, the kind of big guy you cannot play with, and his life is in risk. Ansel has no money and if he had, he wouldn’t spend a dime on his stupid boy, his wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) would not allow it.

The only solution is contracting Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to kill Chris’ mother, so they’d be able to claim for her life insurance policy money, pay the killer, clean the debts and share the money among the family.

Problem is that Joe Cooper only accepts prepaid jobs. But he finds a way to ensure the payment. Dottie, Ansel’s 12 year old daughter, a night walker and a very special girl, still virgin, will be the pledge.

As soon as the agreement is done, Chris will regret having ruined his sister’s life in the hands of the killer and will try to put things into order.

Killer Joe is an excessive story. The protection of the underage is not valid here. Dottie is to fulfill Joe’s requirements and is a grant for payment. Everything is unacceptable and morally wrong. But who cares? Anything goes.

Dialogues and situations are so way out of line, so absurd, while watching the film I was totally shocked, so astonished, I found myself laughing nonstop. The way all things are messed around, how situation is getting more and more twisted is insane.

Such extreme the contents are, don’t think this film is being released at any cinema. Positive Friedkin wasn’t looking to be acclaimed nor praised, he just doesn’t care.

Therefore, if you are sensitive to certain subjects or morally concerned as not to understand this film as a joke, don’t waste your time watching it, otherwise you’ll get angry and disappointed. I had fun though.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, Lisa Chodolenko (2010)

Posted in Drama, Just Fun with tags , , , , on March 2, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Sometimes I don’t think clear at all, how come, yesterday, two days after the Oscar rewards, I decided to go to the cinema to see Black Swan? Am I stupid or what? Although I arrived 10 minutes before the session started, there was such queue it was impossible for me to get the ticket on time, and I got the rule never to watch a film already started, at least at the movies. Thus, I had two options: buy a ticket for the following showing and come back home and wait for 2 hours (I gotta say, cinema is 5 minutes far from home, I’m lucky!), or watch something else. I chose  the second.
 
Although I want to see True Grit, and reviews are praising Jeff Bridges, an actor I adore, I wasn’t in the mood for a western. There were a couple more options, but eventually I decided to see The Kids Are All Right. I find Julianne Moore very consistent in her performances and quite personal.
 
Anyway, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what the plot was about, and felt a bit scared thinking my choice had been wrong.
 
This film follows the pattern Little Miss Sunshine opened few years ago, focusing on an unconventional family and their issues.
 
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are two married lesbians which conceived their two kids, Joni and Laser by means of an anonymous sperm donor. Nic is a gyno specialist and Jules is the kind of hippie who starts many ideal projects but at the end of the day, they all fail.


 Joni, about to start college, is now 18, and her brother is pushing her to call the sperm bank company in order to find out who the donor is, and if possible meet him. When receiving the phone call asking if he agrees to identify himself as the donor to the kids, so they can contact him, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) immediately accepts, encouraging the meeting, with the mums unaware of such.
 
Paul and Joni get really on well, but Laser finds Paul quite showy and away from his likes. Paul is delighted with the kids and want to get in touch. His only commitment is his organic restaurant, he’s never been married and has no ties, and feels the need to get close to them.
 
Eventually the mums find out that the kids have contacted with the donor, and immediately want to set a limit  and fix everything by meeting him, thinking once everybody gets to know each other, there won’t be more contact. Instead, kids start adoring Paul and sharing time with him and Jules start working on his garden designing, excluding Nic from any plan, which will cause tension and problems, putting at risk not only her relationship with Joni and Laser, but also her marriage.


 The two lesbian mothers as the axis of the story is not casual, the director, Lisa Chodolenko,  admitted the screenplay was based or inspired in a similar situation with her partner, considering pregnancy by means of an anonymous donor. With this “advantage” or knowledge on the subject, she’s able to portrait this weird family in a realistic manner. Although I’m quite open minded and at this point such things do not surprise me, raised by average hetero parents, it’s shocking the missing father figure in this case. It’s true, roles are quite clear among the couple, it doesn’t matter both women are very masculine in their attitudes and behavior, there’s always a man, and a woman, being the masculine role strict and demanding, and the feminine sweeter and more permissive, but anyway, in my mind the alfa male role in the family is essential. And this not only happens to me, but to Joni and Laser, translated into curiosity, the need for a father brings out the sudden attachment to Paul.
 
What about Paul? He is the prototype of attractive middle-man, who’s succeeded in his business working really hard, but still takes life as easy as he gets, as if he was still in his 20’s-30’s, flirting with young girls, riding his motorbike…his life is irresistibly attractive to the kids, who find in him a mate, who is more in touch with their daily problems and seems to understand their needs better. The truth is that  they do not comprehend what bringing up and educating children really mean, and despise their mothers’ super protective attitude, getting more attached to super cool Paul, who not only does not judge them but also flatters them continuously, and thinks whatever they do is cool.
 
Paul is not a bad guy though, he assumes a nonexistent responsibility towards the kids just because at the end of the day he feels lonely and empty and wants to be part of a family. The problem is that instead of building his family entourage by himself, he chooses the fast and easiest way by trying to fit in this family with an excuse good enough to make believe everyone it could work out. All of a sudden, Paul is there, ready to support anyone in the family, causing confusion and chaos in the same, no matter he only wants the best for them.


 What would happen to you if all of a sudden a stranger knocks at your door and says something like “Hey! I’m your brother!”? how would you react? Would you try to recover lost time? Would you just forget about it? Such things need to be treated carefully, otherwise the foundations of your family might be affected, accustomed to certain life, sudden changes can bring you happiness but also destroy what you have. You got to think of the possible consequences. Had Paul ever thought what his wanking for money would mean in the future? Obviously not, and it’s nothing to blame for…it’s kind of twisted what Laser wants, nonetheless understandable considering the family he comes from.
 
Drama treated with a big dose of humor, The Kids Are All Right, is an easy watching film, not as stunning as Little Miss Sunshine or Happiness, but moving on the same path. You might like it.

BUBBA HO-TEP, Don Coscarelli (2002)

Posted in Just Fun with tags , , , on February 7, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Bubba Ho-Tep is one of these films that you cannot qualify as good, but has something charming and attractive appealing enough to have the need to watch from time to time.

Although its length is not very extent, about 80 minutes approximately, rhythm changes so dramatically you might end up bored, I’ve even fallen asleep myself several times.

I can understand while you’re reading these lines, you’re wondering WTF? Let me explain you the greatness of this story in just two words: Bruce Campbell. Fair enough, don’t you think?

In a quiet retirement home in a remote town in Texas Elvis is still alive. Yeah! But he’s old and life hasn’t treated him as the king of rock n’ roll would deserve. Alone, with no glory nor money, he spends his last days bored, most of time sleeping and with cancer in his pecker.

Fate had to do with his current situation. After getting divorced from Priscilla, sick of drugs and pills, he plans to exchange lives with his best impersonator, Sebastian Haff, for some time, just to have a break  and  enjoy a normal life, without his entourage sucking him dry,, away from Colonel Parker’s dictatorial management, and with no constant pressure. He would impersonate Haff, impersonating Elvis. Unfortunately, due to a barbeque accident, the contract signed with Haff is ruined, and Elvis was never able to recover his identity nor his former life. We all know the story of Haff’s.  To add more drama, during one of his performances, Elvis falls from the stage, breaking his hip and spending long time in coma.

And here he is, surrounded by death, dreaming about the good old days, and waiting for his own death to arrive. Lately the rate of them has increased in the retiring house, but this is not casual, and this is something Elvis and his blackened friend John F.  Kennedy discover: an  ancient Egyptian deity  is trying to recover life by sucking souls from other human beings, by the ass!

Let’s say the 45 first minutes of this film are awesome and delightful to the max, these basically cover the introduction of Elvis and his personal circumstances and the attack from a big bitch cockroach he’s got to face, and the way he recovers interest for life. Of course you want to know what happens, but as mentioned earlier, once the film focuses on what’s going on and how to sort the story out, it loses all the attractive and turns the movie into one more in millions.

Bruce Campbell in his role of Elvis is absolutely brilliant. I think I’ve already said I’m a diehard fan of Elvis, thus anything related to him interests me, on the other hand, I’ve always felt sympathetic to Bruce Campbell, I cannot consider him a great actor, but since I watched Evil Dead for the first time I’ve always liked the guy. Therefore, this combination Campbell-Elvis is, to say the least, curious and genuine. The truth is that Campbell plays the old Elvis convincing us that if he was alive, he’d be exactly like that: with his sideburns, his rings and, yeah! His legendary sunglasses for long distance glance.

The definite device for catching you in the story is, no doubt, Elvis-Campbell’s first person narration, in fact, the story goes flat once the film highlights the part of Ho-Tep. Script definitely was written by an Elvis maniac, easily recognizable by those sentences and expressions in the purest Elvis’ style. For the first time in this blog, I fill compelled to quote some of them I feel totally enthusiastic for:

THE WOMAN I LOVED, PRISCILLA, SHE WAS GONE

EVEN A BIG BITCH COCKROACH LIKE YOU SHOULD NOW, NEVER…BUT NEVER FUCK WITH THE KING

BIG DAMN BUGS, ALRIGHT? THE SIZE OF MY FIST. LIKE A PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SANDWICH!

IS THERE  FINALLY AND REALLY ANYTHING TO LIFE OTHER THAN FOOD, SHIT AND SEX?

HOT DAMN!

Once this said, apart from the presence of Elvis in this movie, rest hasn’t much value and is not relevant enough to comment, maybe Kemosabe shooting his toy guns while screaming “Asshole! Asshole!”

If you are a fan of either Elvis or Bruce Campbell you will appreciate many details and will enjoy the story for sure.

MACHETE IS HERE

Posted in Action!, Just Fun with tags , , on July 14, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

Yes, yes, yes!!! Machete is here! We’ll have blood, vengeance, murders and Danny Trejo in just one month and a half.

And what are we to expect? I don’t know about you, guys, but I think this movie is going to blow our minds. Have you heard about the cast of characters? It’s absolutely impressive: Don Johnson, Robert de Niro, Steven Seagal (OMG!), Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez…even myth of special effects, Tom Savini, has a place in this production.

Based on a fake trailer included in Grindhouse, audience fell irresistibly and immediately in love with the Mexican. Robert Rodriguez, together with Ethan Maniquis, eventually decided to go on with the project, which is going to be a hit, in my opinion.

Release due date is set for September the 3rd. Dears, I encourage you to meet you friends that evening, have a couple of beers and then start enjoying.

Here you are the trailer of…MACHETE!!

Remember, They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!

PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, Tim Burton (1985)

Posted in Directors, Fantasy, Just Fun with tags , on July 14, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

For long time I’ve felt maximum respect for Tim Burton as an original director,  eccentric, charismatic, and with a particular view on aesthetics. However the new millenium has implied Burton to become a mainstream director forgetting all the genuinity and spontaneity his works were characterized with.

Nowadays, whenever a new Burton’s release is super advertised I’, feeling less excited. I don’t mean he’s given up his particular way to depict stories, but I think he’s abusing too much on remakes or book adaptations lately, he’s not being as creative as he used to be and I just feel  bad about that.

Anyway, yesterday, to face the suffocating both weather and the Football Worldcup final match atmosphere, we decided to attack Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,  not really sure of what we were going through.

We had already heard of Pee-wee Herman’s scandal, that he was caught wanking in a public theatre watching a porn movie. Poor guy! Apparently his career on media seemed to sink afterwards, unbelievable! Here in Spain people have stolen huge amounts of money, have served prison, had been caught in clubs or snorting cocaine, and after a while everybody has return to they were before the incidents, or even become public heroes. I feel sorry for poor Paul Reubens, what are you expected to do at a porn theatre? Knitting? C’moooooooooon!

This is the story of Pee-wee Herman, frankly an extreme character as the earliest Burton’s. He’s an adult but a kid in behaviour, with 50-60’s appearance, Pee-wee wears suit, bow tie, and mocassin shoes. To be honest he reminded me of one of this old ventriloquist dummy. What our main character loves most in this world is his bicycle, which is unique in its design, and special in its features. Everybody would love to have this bike, especially Pee-wee’s neighbour, Francis Baxton (Mark Holton), a rich fatty guy who doesn’t  hear the word NO much.

Eventually, Pee-wee’s bike is stolen, and the quest for recovering his treasure will start. Unfortunately the boy will seek for a fortune teller’s advise, and he’ll be cheated and forced to move to El Alamo in search of the bike. During his adventurous jorney, he will get acquainted with many people and many funny stories will occur.

As you can see plot is like a fairy tale, very simple, in order  to highlight the pretentious acting of Paul Reubens, show Burton’s particular world, in which seems that time stopped fifty years ago, keeping beautiful classic aesthetics.

I must admit for the first 5-10 minutes I couldn’t stand much Pee-wee’s gestures, laughs and weird voices, but once I got into the movie, I ended up sympathising with this freak guy very much. I am fan of Pee-wee’s!

Nobody talks about this movie, Burton become what he now is thanks to the dark aesthetics he started to include in his movies from Edward Scissorhands. However, this adventure reminds me of John Waters’, extreme characters, 50’s aesthetics, particular sense of humour  and a taste for the absurd, the kind of films delivered are to be loved or hated with no middle positions.

To be honest, I prefer Pee-wee’s Big Adventure rather than high budget stories such as Sweeney Todd. A very simple story, very visual, which just provides good enterteinment, and has an unforgettable character. One of the best movies I’ve seen lately…curious, huh? 

CRY-BABY, John Waters 1990

Posted in Directors, Just Fun with tags , , , on November 23, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

 

Another creation by John Waters, Cry Baby is the tribute the bizarre director pays to all those teenage movies in the 50’s  recovering  high schools and Romeo and Juliet’s  romances in West Side Story style, as usual, from a very exaggerated perspective making fun of all that crap.

Allison (Amy Locane)  is a good and beautiful girl whose life has always been too perfect , too “square”, enjoying a social position, always escorted by her perfect boyfriend. During a vaccination campaign, her eyes meet Cry-Baby Walker’s (Johnny Depp), obviously is love at first sight, but he’s a drape, a rebel, and she’s not supposed to be with him. Despite the differences, Allison, tired of being good, will surrender to his charm, but the relationship won’t be accepted by her social environment and his boyfriend will plan revenge on the drapes, causing fatal consequences which will lock Cry-Baby into a Juvenile Estate Penitentiary, up to he’s 21.

Will he be able to escape from being imprisoned, will Allison wait for him or she’ll be back to her former situation? Many questions are answered at  the rhythm of classic rock n’ roll, with hilarious lyrics and dancing performances.

Cry-Baby would be definitely considered a musical film, for music presence is constant. On one hand the proper performances at the talent show, or the jamboree, and on the other the musical scenes, with resemblance to Grease or Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock, with a super young Johnny Depp locked in prison, full of frustration and rage. Lyrics are hilarious, making you giggle most of time and soundtrack is pretty cool.

Jail is so much fun

What about the cast? From Johnny Depp in his hottest taking off  from 21 Jump Street  to Willem Defoe as the penitentiary guard, including porn super goddess Tracy Lords in pin-up rockin’ style, Iggy Pop full of dirt in his most Southern attitude, and experienced and established Polly Bergen as the adorable grandma of virgin-like Amy Locane. And of course, John Waters’ mojo pins, Patricia Hearst and Mink Stole. Especial mention to Hatchet-Face, a super albino woman characterized as scary and disgusting as possible, if I pass by that freak on the street I would get the fuck out asap.

Gorgeous!

Thus, in Cry-Baby you find a cocktail of classic teenage love movie, with comedy, musical performances, and ridiculous and exaggerated acting and dialogues, that make you laugh despite you reckon  that  the story is just crap. Still, you can have a good time.

Lickin is what I'm good at