June 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
Ending LGBT Pride Movie Month and to recap, I have looked at a lesbian-themed movie that’s in the style of Franco and Lynch, a transgender love story that’s unique and quirky and a bisexual-themed movie that’s uh, a thing to exists! Where do I go from there? Well, you might have heard of this movie. It came out last year and it’s been mentioned by Richard Roeper, A.O. Scott and Peter Travers and it’s certified fresh in Rotten Tomatoes. Oh, and this movie became a main focus of some awards show that aired earlier this year. If you didn’t see the title above or the link address, the movie I’m talking about some film called Moonlight.
Yeah, I’m dropping the “have you heard of this?” act but if you never heard of it until now, then you must have woken up from a coma so welcome to 2017 and Donald Trump is now the President. Aside from that, it is a critically acclaimed movie that has won awards even with little-to-no marketing. Being a second movie by Barry Jenkins, he also have praise with 2008’s Medicine For Melancholy and also made a couple of short films. He also is a writer for The Leftovers but he mentioned that he didn’t do much. Still, the show is cool and messed up.
He did wrote and made this movie so let’s jump on the story. Divided into three time periods, this movie focuses on a coming of age story of Chiron (Alex Hibbert) who is discovered by Juan (Mahershala Ali) and befriended him as a father figure while Chiron is living with a drug-addicted mother Paula (Naomie Harris) and is an outcast to everybody in school except Kevin (Jaden Piner). Juan is teaching him to swim and other stuff and Chiron talked to Juan and other friend Teresa (Janelle Monáe) a bit about homosexuality including a slur he’s been called by other students.
The movie flashes forward to Chiron (Ashton Sanders) in high school who’s still being a loner living with his mother while being helped by Teresa (Juan passed away between those two periods). As he is getting troubled by Terrel (Patrick Decile), Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) is still friends with Chiron but upon one night, Chiron traveled to the beach in Miami and saw Kevin there which lead to them becoming affectionate. Their affection was short-lived a day later when Terrel asked Kevin to hit Chiron in a childhood game. The game tormented Chiron long enough that he later smashed a chair to Terrel and got arrested.
And we come to the third time period with Chiron (Travante Rhodes) living in Georgia dealing drugs and living a life different from his two previous ones. However, he got a sudden call from Kevin (André Holland) that he didn’t expect. He traveled back to Miami and rekindles with his mother who’s now off drugs and then meets with Kevin at the diner where their friendship remains intact. After the diner closed, Chiron is driving Kevin to his home and then revealed that he’s the only person he’s been intimate with ending the movie with Chiron and Kevin presumably becoming more than friends again.
This is an interesting movie and its praise is well-deserved. I don’t know if there’s anything to talk about the movie than it already has except with the fact that like Tangerine, this movie should have been on my “best of” list but it didn’t and I only first saw it early this year. It is a coming of age piece that focuses on emotions whether it’s friendship, sexual, tragic and anxiety and focuses on Chiron from a kid who’s a victim to the world to a leader who’s against it while not forgetting about the past. And I do have to bring up the elephant in the room which is simply this moment in the Academy Awards.
Yeah, it won best picture and not La La Land which led to a social media meltdown over this whether it’s those that think the other movie should have won or that the Oscars have fucked up or something else. I seen the show back when it aired and it was a disaster with the show turned into a very extended version of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the best picture moment ended the nightmare whether it’s for better or worse. But in my opinion, Moonlight did deserve the award as well as best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali. Had it not won, I would still reviewed the movie regardless.
It’s now time again for LGBT Pride Month to draw to a close and I must be getting back to reviewing stuff that’s not award-winning really. I’ll get back to this month next year again and this time I’ll expand it to see movies related to the plus portion of LGBT sexuality so we see what kind I’m looking forward to. So until then, hope you all happy pride month everybody.
June 22, 2017 § Leave a comment
Gonna do something different this month and it is a movie of course but we live in a world where internet culture is all around us and celebrities first got famous in the internet scene before hitting mainstream. With stars like Lily Allen and Grumpy Cat, it seems the term “fifteen minutes of fame” is starting to no longer apply but it’s still around for now. And as part of LGBT Pride Movies month, I am looking at Boy Meets Girl, a 2014 movie that stars Michelle Hendley, a transgender female who first got famous as a YouTube blogger.
And there is a little to talk about director Eric Schaeffer since why he does make movies and television series before or after this movie, he also is actor when it comes to stuff like Spanglish, One Night At McCool’s and Gravity. And he’s also a blogger thanks to him writing I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single which got turned into a book and reality television series of the same name. So he knows internet, movie and acting. One thing I should add is that prior to reviewing this movie, I honestly never heard of him but who knows, maybe after this movie, I might look into more of his stuff so off to the movie first.
Taking place in Kentucky, this movie focuses of Ricky (Michelle Hendley) who’s a barista living in a small town with her family as well as her best friend Robby (Michael Welch). She does also have dreams which is to be a designer in New York as well as finding love. Her search for love takes an unexpected turn when she meets Francesca (Alexandra Turshen) who’s a wealthy girl engaged to David (Michael Galante), a marine soldier who’s nearly done his duty in Afghanistan. Their meeting went from friends first but they developed an affair which not only later angers David but frustrated Robby since he knows Ricky in high school and the fact that he dislikes her for transphobic reasons.
The affair has David gone all transphobic and wanting to know if Francesca slept with Ricky before the movie gave a twist with the fact that Ricky lost her virginity years ago with David and they kept their sex happening a secret. It didn’t take long until Francesca admit it and then David does the same and drops the transphobic act. As for Ricky, she is not only unhappy with breaking up with Francesca but that she didn’t get accepted to school for her fashion designing. Her unhappiness lead to fight with Robby before she storms out but not before Ricky’s little brother Sam (Joseph Ricci) showed Robby a video involving Ricky’s teenage past.
Robby finds Ricky and admits what he said is wrong as well as declaring his love to her. On to the following days, Robby helps Ricky out without her knowledge by setting a pledge site involving her fashion designs and upon discovering it, she has enough money to go to New York and tries again but with her best friend turned lover in the side. Now this is a pretty different kind of movie I reviewed to be honest since it is proper love story that is down to earth and almost felt biographical which is noticeable.
Like Michelle, Ricky is a video blogger and might be a famous one since David showed a YouTube video of her and Francesca upon his return to Kentucky. There are differences really like the fact that Michelle is interest in Cosmetology before being discovered by the director. And the sexual portion of the movie is pretty explanatory even by dramedy standards, Ricky talks to Robby about the differences of sex with male and female since her orientation is her choice. To keep in mind, transgender applies to any sexuality whether it’s heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality so everybody in any gender has different attraction.
The movie is actually good and worth seeking out if you want a love story that’s not in Nicolas Sparks writing territory. Michelle is good in her acting debut and Michael is also good which reminds me, he does act outside of Twilight series and I had seen him in Z Nation which is a ridiculous zombie show that I like so he has acting qualities. The dialogue is sharp, the storytelling is quirky and good and the development is fine. It’s an indie movie that deserved to be recognised and I won’t forget this. Now the month is drawing to a close so next time, I’m looking at another indie movie but it’s the one that is now becoming more known… thanks to an award show that ended in the most accidental way possible. Yeah, it’s that movie.
June 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is gonna be something and I’m not sure if this is related to my “lookback review” schtick or not but I am finally reviewing a Gregg Araki movie. I say this because back in September 2010, I reviewed Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom and made a dumb pointless joke by saying that Mysterious Skin is about alien kidnapping which it kinda is but there is more to it than aliens. But given that I brought up that it’s a joke, I’m guessing this week’s review is a brick joke punchline of sorts.
And that punchline is a movie called 1997’s Nowhere which is gonna take much to explain about why I say it’s a punchline but first, about Gregg Araki. One of the pioneers of New Queer Cinema, he hit the scene in the 1980s and 1990s with films like Totally Fucked Up and The Doom Generation. Some say those movies are good but many others including Roger Ebert say “zero stars”. He still makes movies like Splendor (which I wish I could review for this month) and Kaboom (which won its first Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival). I don’t know what else to say about him but whether his films are a hit or miss, he is a prominent filmmaker and an awesome guy to boot. Now, about Nowhere, how to explain this one?
Um, it involves Dark (James Duval) who’s a teenager thinking his life in Los Angeles is going nowhere (uh, I see what Araki did there). He is having relationship troubles with Mel (Rachel True) who’s being polyamorous and free unlike Dark while he also has a crush with his classmate Montgomery (Nathan Bexton). While he’s recording videos in a video artist kind of way, he is seeing things like an alien who zaps people into oblivion or abducting anybody in public sight. He along with his friends are also invited to a party hosted by Jujyfruit (Gibby Haynes) and uh, should I talk about his friends?
Because while it involves Dark in a main way, there are subplots left to right. Dark’s friend Cowboy (Guillermo Diaz) is having relationship issues with Bart (Jeremy Jordan) who’s addicted to drugs. Alyssa (Jordan Ladd) is having wild sexy times with Elvis (Thyme Lewis) while Elvis is having issue with drug dealer Handjob (Alan Boyce) which leads to Elvis beating Handjob to death in a party. Egg (Sarah Lassez) falls for an unnamed teen idol (Jaason Simmons) who he later turns out to be rapist who abused her. Mel’s brother Zero (Joshua Gibran Mayweather) wants to go to party with Zoe (Mena Suvari) despite being younger than them and so on and so on.
Yeah, this movie is filled with subplots and there’s even one I want to bring up but that one is not really connected to anything. Going back to Dark and he finds out Montgomery is abducted while Mel is getting laid in party (in front of anybody) by a group of twins which leads him to be depressed and go home but not after he witnessed Ducky (Scott Caan) trying to drown himself after hearing that Egg killed herself after watching an evangelist program hosted by Moses (John Ritter). Oh, and Bart also killed himself for watching the same thing.
And again, back to Dark’s story which is how the movie draws to a close. Montgomery escapes from the aliens and went to Dark to sleep in his bed which makes them both happy… that is until Montgomery’s body exploded with a cockroach-like alien appearing and leaving the room ending the movie with Dark screaming at the fact that some guy known as Donnie will kill him 28 days from now and now, I’m getting two movies confused with the fact that they both starred James Duval.
This movie is an ultimate example of being a time capsule to the point where the nineties is filled with anything that’s anarchic and nihilistic. While this is not the first kind of movie Gregg has done with that approach, it is the first movie of his I have seen many years ago and back then, I hated the movie. Nowadays, I can see why this is made and why it is his style at that time. It is part of his so-called “Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy” (or as I like to call it, “The Sexual Life Of James Duval Trilogy”) and this movie does touch upon the Apocalypse likeness especially from Alyssa who mentioned the world is set to end at that time but it didn’t so maybe he save it for his later movies (or a television pilot).
As for the bisexual relation of this, it is clear that it involves Dark who’s bisexual along with Mel and other characters and this is a clear depiction right down to the opening scene where he’s jerking off in a shower while dreaming about both Mel and Montgomery. For the casting, it’s good since it’s filled with stars that are relavant at that time even with cameos by the likes of Denise Richards and Shannen Doherty. It’s basically what you get if you put Teen Beat magazine on blender with drugs and it mixed up with fucked-up shit. There’s also soundtrack which is of its time and the aesthetics are like that as well.
So as long as you can handle a movie filled with subplots involving deranged versions of teenagers in Los Angeles scene, this movie is for you then and I did say I hate the movie back then but repeated viewings did change that and I saw other Gregg Araki movies since then so you have to understand by watching it more than once. Okay, I had gotten through a Gregg Araki movie and will get back to his filmography again in the future but now, I am set to look at a movie that’s not chaotic and that also includes a movie after that as well so until next time.
June 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
It’s June which is already known as LGBT Pride Month and given that I did a theme month involving LGBT-centric movies last year, I enjoyed it so much that I’m doing it again. Now going by random order like last time, I perhaps start off with a lesbian-themed movie and I do say movie instead of graphic novel series unlike last time. However, I do say that like Sunstone, this movie also has BDSM theme but in a more surreal direction. I also do note that it’s been said by some to be a lesbian version of 50 Shades of Grey which I’m unsure is a good or bad thing since I just mentioned 50 Shades in this review… and I have yet to review that one!
The first movie I’m reviewing for LGBT Pride Month is The Duke of Bungundy and it’s a fourth directorial effort by Peter Strickland whom I should really talk about because oh shit, has nobody seen Berberian Sound Studio? It must be seen (and heard) to be believed. He also did other stuff with Katalin Varga and one live concert film by Bjork but again, watch Berberian Sound Studio before reading this review, you would thank me later. Sorry, I got off-track there so uh, let me just review this one before I review the other one instead.
Taking place in presumably the 1970s, we meet Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) who not only studies lepidopterlogy also works as a maid in home belonging to Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen). Her work as a maid went into BDSM territory as Evelyn falls for Cynthia through punishment whenever she didn’t complete her task. Their relationship started out fine but Cynthia has second thoughts and it’s due to the fact that she’s older than Evelyn and fears that her age would affect it. And after Evelyn discovered a trunk that is considered her “punishment”, both her and Cynthia decide to go with it.
At first, the idea worked but Cynthia has some concerns and later discovered that Evelyn is trying to have her “punishment” for somebody else. Evelyn apologizes and still stays with Cynthia but their issues haven’t resolved until later and they decided to go back to the original plan ending the movie with their romance still intact.
This movie is a nostalgic mix of 1970s Jess Franco movie and a bit of David Lynch nightmarish fuel along the way. It also felt a bit post-apocalyptic with the fact that this is a movie where the cast is all female and no male in sight so I don’t know how Peter pulled it off but he did… with some females being barely seen mannequins. Heck, both Sidse and Chiara act a bit like dolls in some parts especially when Evelyn went to another world filled with butterflies and dreamy atmosphere. And lastly, the score by Cat’s Eyes adds to the flavor which makes us wonder what happens if Alison Goldfrapp decide to do a tribute to Julee Cruise.
It is worth checking and as much as this movie is erotic, it is almost safe-for-work with the exception of some sexual sequences. I know this review is short but I got heaps to do at this time so hope it’s understandable. I however don’t know how to tell you about the next movie I review… It is um, confusing and messed up! Not spoiling but let’s just say that Generation X era has some messed up movies so until then.
June 7, 2017 § Leave a comment
I was afraid that it’ll come to this. Okay, first thing I should say about this is that I forgot to mention that my last review was basically the 200th article I have posted. I was assuming it would happen within a month but hey, I hit the big 200 and of course it’s me reviewing a crappy movie. Not Twilight-related but a crappy movie nonetheless. However, I can admit that the review was a bit anti-climatic because of how I stated that there’s little to talk about The Tooth Fairy II due to the fact that it has a similar synopsis as the first movie. But hey, it now comes to the second thing which is me reviewing Accidental Love and let me talk to you about Stephen Greene that some would be surprised about.
Now Stephen Greene is a director best known for such films as See You Next Wednesday and… fine fine, he doesn’t exist. In truth, this started out as a David O. Russell vehicle but due to financial difficulties which caused the film to be delayed, David quit the project to financial difficulties and went on to finish on The Fighter. But given the movie was left unfinished, the executives took over and try to finish it… four years later! Now back in my Best/Worst of 2015 retrospective, I mention this as being part of worst of due to the unfinished effect and nearly finish a review of it at that time. But as life imitates art, I finished it just this week so at least this review is all my doing.
The story revolves around Alice Eckle (Jessica Biel) who was living a good life with her working as a diner waitress with Scott (James Marsden), her boyfriend and sheriff who’s a dreamboat to girls around him. As Scott takes Alice to the date, it was going smooth but with a guy fixing the restaurant’s logo near them, it didn’t go exactly as planned. And then, Alice got accidentally struck by a nail from the worker’s nail gun and she has gone to hospital to get her fixed. Again, it didn’t work exactly as planned since she doesn’t have insurance and Doctor Turnstall (Bill Hader) abort the operation. With Alice still alive but with a nail stuck inside her head, she needs help and discovers Representative Howard Birdwell (Jake Gyllenhaal) so it’s up to her to go to Washington with the aid of Reverend Norm (Kurt Fuller) and Keyshawn (Tracy Morgan), both whom has something abnormal that the hospital can’t help.
Alice finds romance with Howard but Howard himself is facing a political crisis as well as his manhood with former astronaut turned representative Pam Hendrickson (Catherine Keener) finding ways to not let a healthcare that helped Alice go through which includes causing Speaker Buck McCoy (James Brolin) to not revived from stroke, fake-outing a prepubescent scout girl (?!?) and so on. In the end, Howard finds his ways and the healthcare quietly goes through which ends with Alice and Howard as lovers, Keyshawn finding his own and Scott moving on with his former love.
There is not much said about this movie but I can see it being a mess. For one, I’ve seen movies like Flirting With Disaster and I Heart Huckabees to know it’s David O. Russell’s style of filming and there is very little style here but I can’t tell which is which. Some scenes were filmed in dutch angle but others look like it’s filmed differently and the humor is a bit slapstick but the only time I laughed is Jake Gyllenhaal acting like he’s trying out-cage Nic Cage and Paul Reubens videobombing himself in the news. Speaking of actors involved, does anybody know that James Caan was originally in the role for Buck? If the answer is no, then be surprised because a set photo of him is featured in the back of the DVD.
It’s also a very dated movie even by the time it was released with Obamacare passed into law at that time so why was this released is beyond me. I can’t bear myself to watch this again because it looks like a movie but it’s missing something. This is executive meddling at its finest and I don’t know why what was unfinished is then finished with the hands of few financiers and a former executive of Capitol who assembled it. If Alan Smithee pseudonym remained intact, this would be as big as Burn Hollywood Burn and I don’t mean it as a good way. But if there’s anything to say about this, it’s that at least I finished the review in my own writing and editing skills and with nobody taking my place on this.