Thoughts on Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle

Saturday, October 30, 2010 7:31 PM By Simon

-Following the life of Dorothy Parker during her time with the Alonquin Circle, a group of writers, actors, and such who met everyday at the same table at the Alonquin Hotel.

-Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is kind of amazing as Parker, getting the voice down and all that.

-Matthew Broderick plays Charles MacArthur, who is a douchebag in this. Gwyneth Paltrow keep showing up as a fictional actress for some reason. Maybe as an excuse to go topless. I don't know. Also, Stephen Baldwin.

-Why is it these biopic movies of awesome people always attract the biggest notable casts? Chaplin, etc. Though it might be because this particular film was directed by Robert Altman.

-I'm afraid I'll be without computer for a few days, starting when this battery goes out, so sorry if this is rather short. And shitty.

Thoughts on Weirdsville

6:18 PM By Simon

-Junkies Dexter (Scott Speedman) and Royce (Wes Bentley) find themselves chased by gangsters and satanists when their friend Mathilda (Taryn Manning) supposedly overdoses.

-This was cute. Sometimes funny, sometimes amusing, sometimes stupid, but it was always consistantly cute.

-Bentley is a funny, if not entirely original, stupid one of the pair. Speedman plays straightman/serious guy fine. Manning spends most of her time dead or unconscious. There's the funniest pack of devil-worshippers committed to cinema. Some medieval midgets. The director of Empire Records.

-Still. I refuse to believe people would be fighting so hard to get Canadian money. It looks like the stuff seven year olds make for their parent's birthday.

Thoughts on Total Eclipse

6:08 PM By Simon

-The affair between Arthur Rimbaud (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Paul Verlaine (David Thewlis).

-What a silly movie. Neither good nor bad, just silly. I'm not just talking about the curiously anochronistic vocal stylings of the cast, in which you've got uber-American-sounding DiCaprio and English Thewlis against the French actors and actors about them, all speaking English to the point that I was somewhat taken aback when someone'll mention that, hey, we're in Brussels. It's Thewlis's weird performance of lip-smacking and whining, DiCaprio's somewhat good, maybe his most interesting, acting that, nonetheless, cannot make the more Rimbaudian language sound less ridiculous out of his mouth, like a high school junior forced to recite from the textbook in front of the class.

-Also, this is the movie where DiCaprio still looked, like, twelve. So, in the end, seeing his get down with an Eithiopian (back when Ethiopia was called something else) woman, in this little mustache to signify age, I laughed. The. Entire. Time.

-Some excellent score, but overall, it's just...silly.

I have the bestest friend a girl has ever known

Friday, October 29, 2010 2:43 PM By Simon

Because she lives somewhere in the West Coast now (the land where they probably sell scripts next to the candy bars at checkout lanes), and for my birthday, which is precariously close, she sent me the shooting script for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! WOOT!
Not this copy, of course. And I she posted a nice card on it so I'd be able to differentiate between all the things she got my sister. But HAZZAH!

In other news, if you can read this without ad-bombardment, I salute ye. Because I can't. Because for some now-unknown reason, my page keeps redirecting to various ad sites after five seconds. This is bad.

The Seventh Seal

Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:37 PM By Simon

-This is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Like, ever.

-I mean, I go in expecting some dour philosophical waxing and lots of screen-chess I'd offer some highly valuable advice to ("Yup, that's a Bishop. It sure does go that way."). But, dude. It was funny and sad and sweet and horrific and dude.

-You can tell how serious this is when I forgo psuedo-intellectual faux-criticism for pure, fangirlish squeals. This shit is hardcore.

-I mean...for good reason, the opening scene and the penultimate shot are the most iconic, but there's so much more...Death (Bengt Ekerot) is a dry, amiable dude who slacks off on the job to play some chess with a medieval monk (Max von Sydow, before he started playing all those Nazis) who's Time has Come. As the game goes on for awhile, the monk and his squire (Gunnar Björnstrand) go about the countryside, avoiding the Black Death and picking up various passengers, including a family of actors/jugglers (Nils Poppe and Bibi Andersson), and their young son.

-I'd watch this again. It's just so layered, this time around, I watched on pure superficial level (story, acting). But next time, I gotta look into the themes. And junk.

-I like this Ingmar Bergman guy. Except every time I read his name, I think of Ingrid Bergman. Hm.

-So, anyway. Go watch this motherfucker.

Charisma and cajones: an exercise in humor litmus testing and contrived alliteration

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 2:34 PM By Simon

Today, me and me sister were having one of our ego-boosting "You're funnier", "No, you're funnier" bullshitting meats when I, being the brilliant rascal I am, outlined the two different kinds of funny, to maybe move the whole thing along. It goes as such: charismatic funny, the kind of sociable humor that the whole room will laugh at, and the purest form of isolation comedy, the stuff so funny only two people in the room will get it, and only one of them will gather enough courage to laugh. Discomfort humor, you'd call it.

Judd Apatow, for all intents and purposes, is of the charismatic variety. While, in retrospect, his humor isn't any less offensive than your average Adult Swim original programming, it's mainlined, the so-stupid/sweet-it's-funny kind of manchild heroism even the stoniest cynic and hardened critic can giggle at.

Todd Solondz, meanwhile, runs on fuel made of crew cuts and dead rainbows. His movies are funny, but only if you want to be a horrible person for the five seconds it takes for you to chuckle. You fidget at his misery porn and nod in appreciation of the witty satire within it. If The 40-Year-Old Virgin is cinematic potato chips, Welcome to the Dollhouse is deep-fried dolphin.

This isn't, of course, limited to the godfrosaken realms of film. The AV Club had an article awhile ago, Discomfort Comedy We Can and Can't Take, that has a plethora of television nasties you love, but can't sit through. So, yes, I'm bogarting their idea, but I'm citing it, so shut up.

What comedies do you find fidget-uncomfortable?

Oh, by the way, Sugary Cynic, in a lapst of judgement, allowed me the opportunity to win her banner quote contest (which I totally fucking did), for which the prize is a lovely Paint drawing from the very same Sugary Cynic, so I chose Dr. Frank N Furter, Mr. Pink, and Willie Garson doing battle with Big Man Japan. The result:

Let's all give her a hand. For doing her best in a bad situation.


Thoughts on Last Tango in Paris

Monday, October 25, 2010 3:30 PM By Simon

-Believe it or not, my dears, there is more to this movie than the butter scene. There's the finger scene too.

-Of course I kid. This is actually pretty good. Brando is brilliant, but in that accessible way I find disquieting on him. And he speaks French in what I assume is an American accent (it all sounds just French). Maria Schneider, too, brings her own kind of charisma to a role that is often dismissed as naked prancing.

-Anyway. Not much to add, otherwise. I quite like the last ten minutes.

What a day

2:26 PM By Simon

The moral of the story?

2:18 PM By Simon

Spammers may be bad, but CAPTCHAS suck hard. Don't use CAPTCHAS.

En Francais...

12:33 PM By Simon

Bonjour, mes bons copains. Pour au demi-âne fait les études pour mon quiz français prochain, je vous donne un poste court dans la LANGUE FRANÇAISE WOOT! Parce que j'ai cru qu'Emma Stone-hosted le sketch satirique de SNL l'autre nuit baisait assez adorable.

C'est par un traducteur, parce que mon manuel n'a pas presque assez de mots de juron. Comme, sérieusement.

Normally, this would be a review of Night Watch

Sunday, October 24, 2010 6:24 PM By Simon

But as luck would have it, my DVD copy is dubbed. Fucking dubbed. And I can only switch the audio to French or Spanish.

I don't care about your international appeal, studios. Do not fucking dub your fucking movies.

Sunday music (because Monday sucks)

5:44 PM By Simon

Thoughts on Torremolinos 73

1:20 PM By Simon

-A failing encylopedia salesman (Javier Cámara), and his faithful wife (Candela Peña), get roped into making porn films (under the pretence of international audiovisual sex education encylopedias that are a huge hit in Scandanavian countries).

-Funny. Darkly so, sadly so, but still funny. For Ingmar Bergman fans, anyway. And, hey, Mads Mikkelsen!

Thoughts on M

11:20 AM By Simon

-Fritz Lang's first talkie, Peter Lorre's first big non-comedic role, and the first film about a serial killer. What I'm saying is, it gets a lot of shit done.

-Fritz Lang has the worst luck, though. I mean, the Nazis loved his movies, and he hated their guts. Poor bastard.

-Anyway. This might be the first classic foreign film I've ever watched entirely without getting up to harass someone. It's that enthralling.

Thoughts on Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Saturday, October 23, 2010 7:06 PM By Simon

-The homoerotic tensions between Japanese and Korean soldiers and the various prisoners of a WWII POW camp.

-Specifically: The young camp commander, Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto, who also did the lovely score), Jack Celliers (David Bowie), a rebellious British prisoner with the best blonde dye job this side of World War Two, Lt. Colonel John Lawrence (Tom Conti), the only one of the prisoners who can speak both English and Japanese, and therefore acts as liason between the two, and Sergeant Hara (Takeshi Kitano, in his first major acting role), seemingly ruthless but develops a begrudging friendship with Lawrence.

-There's an extended flashback that features David Bowie, 1980s David Bowie (already well into his 30s-40s) in schoolboy garb, hanging out amongst his supposed schoolboy peers, and generally pretending to be, like, 16. Therefore, I refuse to take that scene seriously.

-Nagisa Ôshima, from the two movies I've seen of his (this and Taboo, the latter of which expands on the ideas of the former), he's really fascinated by gay Samurai.

-Jack Thompsan, with his North Africa-stationed British uniform and glorious mustache, reminds me of the dad from The Wild Thornberries. Remember that show? I fucking do.

-G'night, ladies and gentlemen.

Thoughts on Ringu

6:31 PM By Simon

-Nanako Matsushima stars as Asakawa Reiko, a reporter who happens upon the tape (you know the one) while investigating the urban legend surrounding it. Now, she, with the (somewhat forced help) of her ex-husband (Hiroyuki Sanada), have one week to get to the cause and cure of the damned thing.

-Okay, hear me out: what if you just watched the tape every week after the first time? Wouldn't that just keep giving you one week to live, every week? Or what if you fell into a coma within the one week? How could Creepy Little Girl scare you to death? Whatever.

-I will make an argument I have never made before and will never make again...the remake was (technically) better. The acting, the cinematography, the effects, the story, the pacing, the sound, everything.

-But what this had that The Ring didn't was good ol' Japanese atmosphere. The quiet, subtle feeling of dread not present in most American films, the kind of tension that makes you jump at the slightest tweak in soundtrack.


Thoughts on THX 1138

Friday, October 22, 2010 4:42 PM By Simon

-How rad is that poster?

-In George Lucas' first feature film (y'know, before he got all George Lucas 21st Century-y), Robert Duvall stars as a man living in (what else?) a dystopian, underground society where people roam about with shaved heads and white clothes, taking pills to both suppress sexual desires and allow them to work their long shifts at dangerous machinery. Of course, he stops taking his pills, and begins to fall in love with his female roommate (Maggie McOmie), who has also stopped taking her's. If you're thinking this is some freaky-ass love child of 1984 and Brave New World, then I'd say you're fairly astute with vague descriptions, and you might have a future in this business. This parentage, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing.

-While not exactly a defining film in the dystopian genre, or even particularly notable, there are some notably shining moments here (as all films have, even the ones starring fat suits). The messy, chaotically edited, gloriously schizophrenic opening scene, wherein we're introduced to all the major characters, the society, and the mechanics of the bureacracy in maybe one minute. All scenes in the so-called 'Limbo', where law breakers are sent for the rest of their days. The wonderfully weird facial twitches of McOmie. Don Pedro Colley.

-Almost a comedy, guys. Everything, especially death, is left ambiguous.

Music to cry to if you think about it (on this Friday afternoon)

12:59 PM By Simon

Blog posts I can't comment on (which I normally do, because I'm a loser) because my computer is a filthy little whore

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 6:40 PM By Simon

And has decided to bar me from all non-copy-and-pasting, non-Netflix related activities. If I missed you, well, then, what can y'do?

This also includes embedded links, because, y'know, pop-ups.

(I like the cut of this dude's jib, I do)


(because this chick's funny)

And, of course, all of you are special. I just don't know it.

Have a nice day.

The United Monsters Talent Agency

12:26 PM By Simon

Kill Bill effects man Greg Nicotero directs a short love letter to classic B-movie monsters. And it is glorious.

Or course, if it isn't working, go here.

This is funny

Monday, October 18, 2010 5:14 PM By Simon Straight Talk About Gay Marriage from on Vimeo.

Thoughts on Alice

4:42 PM By Simon

Jan Švankmajer, this freaky-ass Czech filmmaker and animator, made this freaky-ass Czech film adaption of Alice in Wonderland.

-It stars Kristýna Kohoutová, dubbed by Camilla Powers, as Alice, a stuffed exhibit as the White Rabbit, a sock as the Caterpillar, a puppet as the Hatter, a wind-up toy as the March Hare, and a cut-out playing card as the Red Queen and her court. And some entient slabs of meat.

-This is weird. This is really fucking weird. But it's still better than Tim Burton's version.

Movies I watched this weekend, but for various reasons, I'll just talk about here, because it's my blog and I'll do what I want

Sunday, October 17, 2010 6:09 PM By Simon

johns (spelled like that): Starring David Arquette and Lukas Haas, this little film is about a hustler named John (Arquette), living in LA, trying to get enough money to spend a night in a fancy hotel for his birthday and Christmas, which fall on the same day. Lukas Haas is his best friend, Donner, who is, apparently, new to the thing and in love with him. A silly, low-budget, but watchable movie, Arquette is ridiculous, but not necessarily bad, Haas fairs a bit better, but that's because he tends towards this type of role often. Some loud chick who sounds like the birds from Brandy and Mr. Whiskers shows up for a couple scenes, basically there to be annoying, likewise two stereotypical gay guys, one of whom is the gay guy in My So-Called Life. Often leans towards emotional manipulation, shitty editing, and a smug condensation of the main characters.

Playtime: Jacques Tati's fourth major film, a two-hour ode to old Paris and condemnation of the new one, parodied as lavishly square cubicles and ridiculously elaborate machines (like the process it takes to get someone buzzed up in an apartment building). I got twenty minutes in before I fell asleep, and when I woke up I just put on something else because, fuck you, I only got two days in the week to watch movies. I'll come back one day, maybe after watching more of Tati's films.

Wendy and Lucy: A young drifter (Michelle Williams, a touchingly honest performance) heading to Alaska for work loses her dog after getting jailed for shoplifting. Car broken in a small town, she spends a couple days looking for her tirelessly, helped by a kidnly security officer. Beautiful and simple and heartbreaking, but it's not like that's a very original sentiment.


And now I'm watching a Czech film called Alice, by a prolific director who's name I can't spell. To be added later.

Off to last-minute sciene homework and essays about I, Robot, Harrison Bergeron, and The Pedestrian, which I do not know whether to type of handwrite, and I don't want to have to do it over, so I'm confused. Fuck high school essays on shitty movies I slept through, and two awesome short stories that are, like, five pages. And science homework.

Thoughts on Red

Saturday, October 16, 2010 4:42 PM By Simon

-Oh. My. God. Old people being awesome and young people trying to get their heads out of their asses, and failing miserably. Red, where have you been all my life?

-Not just any old people, either. The best old people. Ernest Borgnine, for two deliriously awesome scenes. Helen Mirren, classing up the joint. Morgan Freeman, putting on a bad French accent for a bit, but who cares, he's Morgan Freeman. John Malkovich, who's always best when he's being weird. Bruce Willis, I mean, meh, but I can deal with it. Richard Dreyfuss, not playing the vice president for some reason.

-And, yeah, Mary-Louise Parker, being all quirky and oh-me-lawd-I-can't-find-a-man-even-though-I'm-all-Mary-Louise-Parker-y. And Karl Urban. But, since I hate his face and his I'm-serious-because-my-eyebrows-are-scrunched-and-my-voice-is-gravelly-look bullshit, we'll forget he's there.

-This isn't aiming for the Oscars, as cliche as that is. It aspires to be nothing but a call to arms. This is no time to fuck around, senior citizens of the world. Get off your asses and start shooting people, because dammit, we young people got no manners and we use curse words!

-Lovely popcorn flick. in fact, I actually bought popcorn. Lucky!

Thoughts on The Secret of Kells

4:08 PM By Simon

-First off: Irish movies are awesome. By proxy, anyway. I mean, Irish accents are so damn awesome, even their shit movies are fun just to listen to them all talk Brendan Gleason (who is also in every single Irish movie. It's the law).

-Anyway. In the time when Vikings were hardcore, and not Halloween costumes, the Abbey of Kells fortifies itself from the fast-approaching armies. An old monk/illuminator (I have no idea what that is) entrusted with the sacred, yet-unwritten Book of Kells (then Iona). A young boy, nephew of the Abbot, is soon entrusted with the future of the book.

-I was expecting this to be some fanciful kid movie, and besides some shadows of implied future and brief cutaways to pillaged villages, it is. Until the last half hour. Where, if you know a lick of Irish history, shit gets real.

-But oh, how beautiful the animation is. A combination of contemporary animation and classic Irish, in the style of actual drawings from the Book, a unique look that sets it apart from any other animated film I've seen.

-I take back any Ponyo-related complants I've had in the past against this movie. Truly, it should've been The Princess and the Frog that had my grudge.

Existentialism, Teen Angst, and the End of the World

Friday, October 15, 2010 7:10 PM By Simon

What do they have in common, my dears? Well, they're all tragic things, yes, but nobody wants to hear about them. Unless, of course, you smash them together in a huge wad of cinematic musing and lingering bikini shots.

What is the world's obsession with prodigal teens and their apocalyptic visions? Is it a Donnie Darko thing? It's probably a Donnie Darko thing.

Recently (five minutes ago) I watched a small film called One Day Like Rain.

It's about a teenage girl who, cursed with an apparent knowledge of the planet's destruction, decides to save it with a couple hobby store chemistry sets. Jesse Eisenberg is in it. He's only got a few scenes.

The movie seems to be having a conversation with itself, trying too hard to be a Richard Kelly movie. People declare "There's no going back" and "40". Out of nowhere, like they've been pondering a particularly baffling question and suddenly solved it, blurting it out victoriously.

This is the problem with these movies. They try to hard to be deep and reveltory, either in the Donnie Darko sense or the American Beauty sense. And they're not. More often then not, they have okay to bad acting (ahem), obscure and random events that ape the styles of Kelly, without understanding that they should have an overall arc to which everything falls into place. They may look lovely (nobody could claim the cinematography for Rain is incompetant), but they're emotionally and intellectually dead, lots of ideas never realized past the napkin they were scribbled on. And this annoys me.

Metaphors for coming of age aside, my people are rarely struck by doom-filled thoughts. We get all pissy and threaten to slit our wrists, but how many of us do? You hear a lot about it in the news, but compared to the hundreds of people per school, two or three offing themselves in paltry. We do not drive to watering holes to wax on and have psychological breakdowns from the overabundance of giant rabbits and prophetic wood-hermits.

This movie reminded me of Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma for some reason. The themes are similar, and you get the feeling a whole ETE (as these movies shall now be known until I come up with something better) movie happened before it even began.

I don't know. I was going to write about more, but I'm drawing a blank. What do you like about these ETE movies? What are your favorites? Why do they piss you off? How could we come up with a one word description of this genre that's not lame?

My sister has a superpower

Thursday, October 14, 2010 6:17 PM By Simon

And that is the ability to use Paint coherently:

So, yeah, she made this in her mad obsession with Newsies. Naturally, I apoligize to all redheads out there (especially you, Red).

I'm totally gonna write a story one day that makes sense of this.

Thoughts on I, Robot

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:30 PM By Simon

-English class is a bitch.

-You know what would've made this movie much better? Cutting out Will Smith's one-liners and Bridget Moynahan's bad acting, that whole subplot, and just make it about Sonny's emotional awakening, his life with James Cromwell and starting a robot revolution. He's a fucking battle robot, guys. I want that movie.

Thoughts on La Moustache

Monday, October 11, 2010 5:11 PM By Simon

-When I first heard this title, spoke to me. Finally, a movie that got straight to the point of the plot, Mustaches. But alas, it is precariously stache-less for the majority, as it's about a man (Vincent Lindon) who, on a whim, shaves off his signature mustache, but is greatly disturbed that nobody, including his wife (Emmanuelle Devos), seems to notice, and in fact, deny he ever had one at all. Which is horrifying.

-I'm kidding. The summary makes it sound utterly ridiculous. But it's not, I promise. Not in that way, anyway.'s a psychological thriller/horror without the luxury of answers, or clues to answers, or anything. It's one, big, muddy metaphor, and metaphors don't need to make sense except at their core. But it'd be nice.

-Divergent timelines? Time travel? Insanity? Of the man or of the woman? Can he be snapping? Or can she just never be wrong? I don't know. This shit makes no sense.

-Otherwise, the acting is good, the direction, the cinematography. I liked this one shot, where there seem to be three seperate movies going on as the man walks down an Asian (forget which country, I was spacing out at that point) boardwalk, with a guy juggling to his left and two little boys holding hands, walking home, in front. I just liked that little touch.

Thoughts on Titus

Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:56 PM By Simon

-So Aaron the Moor, played with randy, fourth-wall-obliterating relish by Harry Lennix, has impregnanted the avenging mother Tamara (Jessica Lange, so very intense and so very badass). She gives birth to his kid, quite obviously his kid, and a nurse comes in, all a-twitter, to show Aaron and Tamara's rapist sons (Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Matthew Rhys). They are pissed off, and one of them screams "You hath undone our mother!" No joke, I kid not, get out, this is an actual line from the actual movie and the actual play: "Villian...I hath done thy mother." Does that not say it all?

-If this is the worst--most unsubtle, uncouth--of Shakespeare's plays, you must admit, it has spawned the most interesting film adaption.

-With no apparent time frame--ancient buildings, speech, and politics, but the casual, alternating presence of carriages and cars, wine and Coke, armor and T-shirts, tights and hot pants, aside from the already-screwed historical figures, that vary decades. And arcade games.

-The actors chew their lines like gum, tirelessly and complusively. Harry Lennix spends much of his time lecturing the camera with a clownish smile, even Young Lucius gets in on the action. Anthony Hopkins is, as always, esteemed and epic.

-Girl Who Plays Lavinia (my computer is screwy, I can't look up the name) gets one of the most unsettling, creative scenes (I think), underplayed spoken while music swells to make it all the more devastating. As her uncle discovers her, in a bloody underdress and chopped-off stumps for hands, which now grow tree branches (to coincide with the line that refers to the hands as branches), he begs her why she won't talk, and she opens her mouth, blood literally pouring out.

-Alan Cummings plays the new kind of Rome, who is introduced riding the Popemobile.

-For a revenged tragedy, this is more of a twisted comedy.

-My chief reason for always giving Julie Taymor another chance.

Mobsters and Groovers Present: Vampires

Saturday, October 9, 2010 1:33 PM By Simon

The Hunger (1983)

"She's that kind of woman. She's...European."

Miriam (Catharine Deneuve) is a vampire-like creature from ancient Egypt, who has lived on for centuries, taking companions to cure the loneliness. She and her most recent partner, John (David Bowie), currently live in New York, preying on Goth couples to Bauhaus music. But when John begins aging rapidly, Miriam must find a new companion, setting her sights on Dr. Sara Roberts (Susan Sarandon), an expert in the aging process.
This isn't, in the strictest sense, a good movie. It's hammy, and melodramatic, an at times very, very silly. But it serves its purpose, which is, of course, to dazzle the eyes with lesbian sex scenes and Victorian/Goth furniture porn. Since it's 1983 release, it's been destined for cult stardom. With such a cast--Repulsion's Deneuve, the epitome of 'classy French lady', Susan Sarandon, Susan Sarandon's elusive boobs, and David Bowie, who's David Bowie, and therefore David Bowie. Sure, they screw the later marketing point up by keeping him in grotesque old man makeup for the majority of his scenes, but nonetheless.
And as I said (in so many words), beautiful cinematography. Every shot is like a (Hot Topic circa 1980s) postcard, every costume, every room design, set up to capture the tragic mood.
But as I've said many times, I don't consider this a vampire movie in the strictest sense. See, vampires have fangs, and, y'know, use them. Not Miriam and John. They have Ye Olde Egyptian necklaces that look like discarded Tommy props, which they pull off (so they must go through chains like a bitch) and stab their victims to death. Not even stab. Cut. They cut their necks in the least vampirey way possible. It's just embarrassing.
They make Catherine Deneuve crawl around licking blood from dead manwhores. They ignore their target audiences' (teenage girls going through a phase) desires for pretty angst (plenty of for the first half hour, luckily). David Bowie is decrepit. The only person of any non-white ethnicity is a black scientist with dreads. Some of the dialogue is terrible. Some of the acting is terrible. The director dedicates more time and lighting to ladies getting down than he does the shittily-edited killing scenes.
But then, Deneuve could make you her love slave before she can shake your hand. David Bowie continues his noble crusade to be weird British in times when the English are starting to conform to our boring American ways. Susan Sarandon gets nekkid, which is, frankly, something I didn't really expect (seriously, no discretion shots or nothing). I feel like I should host a party with this theme

The Five Best David Bowie (Film) Performances

12:45 PM By Simon

On these slow Saturdays, no way of getting around, nothing to do but watch movies and contemplate the finer things in life--British accents, glam rock in its original form, singers who become actors in movies that, for the most part, aren't shit--I keep coming back to the last great living seventies singer (that isn't Lou Reed. Or Grace Slick. Or all the other ones), David Bowie. And so I make a list.

Why? Fuck you, that's why.

5) The Prestige

This role combines my two favorite things: Bowie and Tesla. And magic lightning rooms.

4) The Hunger

Is this some thinly-veiled prelude to my inclusion for Movie Mobsters/Fandango Groovers Presents: Vampires? Hells yes. And here it is.

But besides. He is so damn...good in it. Going from seductive vampire's assistant to a withering old man trying desperately for a few last moments with his love, he elevates the movie in the places Catherine Deneuve couldn't.

3) Basquiat
Not his greatest movie, sure, but as a guy who knew Andy Warhol, and was probably besties with him (he had to be, right?), and, in fact, playing the man around the time they would've known each other in real life, gives the whole thing a meta feel. Anyway, he gets all the tics, the swagger, the whiny voice, the euphoric air, down so well you'd think he was at a party, doing an impression of the guy. Or something. I don't know.

2) Inglorious Basterds

What are you talking about, he wasn't in it? Of course he was in it! His little cameo, as always, made the scene--Shoshana Dreyfuss (Melanie Laurent) suiting up for her incoming onslaught of Jewish vengeance--both powerful and anachronistically...unique.


1) The Man Who Fell To Earth


*note: I have not seen Labrynth or Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. So don't even start*

Thoughts on Paprika

12:31 PM By Simon

-In Satoshi Kon's (ahem) masterpiece, a psychiatrist named Atsuko Chiba uses a new technology called 'DC Mini' to treat her patients in their dreams, under the altar ego Paprika. Soon, however, the technology is stolen, and the line between reality and dreams blurs.

-Whoever called Inception 'Paprika meets [sci-fi/heist/noir movie]' was spot on.

-Holy shit, this movie is fucking awesome. Excuse the ineloquent way of putting it, but shit.

-Or maybe I'm high off the blessed non-dubbed subtitled version that I happened upon. Because no matter what language you speak, dubbing sucks panda balls.

-There's, of course, some freaky-ass images here, that are disturbing enough in anime, but imaging what they'd look like live-action is just not advisable. Like this:

-So much wrong with this particular scene, I'll let you stick with the most obvious.

-It has everything. Mindblowing animation, suspense, horror, avant-garde, comedy, an epic-sweet romance, identity crisis, naked people, dream-surfing, pink hair, capri pants, butterfly people, science fiction, creepy dolls, a motherfucking elephant.

Thoughts on Love is Colder Than Death

7:55 AM By Simon

-A small-time gangster, his hitman friend, and his hooker girlfriend, bullshit around for 85 minutes.

-The first feature film of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, noted German filmmaker and Magnificent Bastard.

-This might be a lovely time for people who have seen his latter films, picking out the early trademarks and whatnot. But I have not, so it was all a bit slow. Not nearly as bad as some other types, but there are long, pointless pauses and a rather inaccessible plot. Amusing in bits, sometimes really funny, other times noticeably homoerotic (it really is), with off sound but superb acting.

-I'm so bad at reviewing lately.

To which I sat in utter amazement

Thursday, October 7, 2010 3:34 PM By Simon

At the sheer audacity of what was being written. How absurd. How pretentious. What fucking gall.

Is it because their dreams are crushed by the weight of all the unpublished literature collecting dust, simply because it wasn't marketable enough? How young, how jaded.

Let us long, instead, for the new Darren Aronofsky movie, or the new Julie Taymor movie, or the new movie movie, or whatever the fuck you fancy.

Let's be pirates or something. Take celebrity yachts and make them dance, dance for our entertainment, before leaving them on a dinky, unharmed but humbled.

Let's maraud the world'd micronations, Hay-on-Wye and Sealand, and create our own. Tha treehouse in your neighbor's backyard? I dub it the Principality of Degrotia, I dub thee Earl of Gray, I dub that kid across the street Grand Duke Stardust the Ziggy, and myself, or course, King and Queen of this proud land, for I shall die neither and old maid nor a bachelor!

I demand of you, good Earl, to fetch me a damn sammich, enter into negotiations to buy the E! network so we may burn all Kardashians. My first official decree? Get a movie industry started. You'll be our first acting export. Or maybe the kid. I haven't decided yet. Either way, you'll have to play Oh Dae-su in a remake of Oldboy.

-Our official language will be invented by me. I will spew out random noises, and any repeated sounds will be added to the official Degrotian-English dictionary. Let's practice.


Blchha Hlfueit? How are you?

I'm considering making everything lowercase. Capital letters are the stuff of the oppressers.

I'll recruit emmigrants in Williamsburg. I hear they're into short-term psuedo-transgressive trends. Our national anthem will be St. Vincent's "Apocalypse Song", because we are both fatalistic, nihilistic, optimistic, bilingual, and very eloquent. And a tad literal.

Farewell, my darling USA! I do hope we may be friendly neighbors, and you don't try to invade us or anything. Of course, if you do, it'll only strengthen our case.

Hello, my Degrotians! Blchha Hlfueit?


Thoughts on Treeless Mountain

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:50 PM By Simon

-Jin (Hee Yeon Kim), a bright seven-year-old, is forced to care for her young sister Bin (Song Hee Kim) when their mother leaves them to find their father.

-The actresses here are kind of amazing. Especially Hee Yeon Kim, at once naive and terribly weary.

-Quiet, slow, deliberate, not a lot of dialogue, sometimes dizzying perma-closeup, but still fascinating.

-I have yet to figure what the point of this movie is. It's a fine film, entertaining if you're into that sort of thing (which I am), but I can't think of one reason why it was made, besides maybe concept. There's no particular political message, no social one--the child abandonment thing never felt anvilicious or anything--no star vehicle, no overt point. Not even as an experimental.

-Lovely, anyway.

A real life twin conversation

4:19 PM By Simon

(me and Sister are making some damn cookies, and the dough is kind of frozen)

Sister: We've gotta put the dough in the microwave because it's too hard. That's what she said, by the way.

Me: She didn't say that. You said that.

Sister: She said you'd say that.

Win Ugly Americans Season 1

3:54 PM By Simon

So you know how Ugly Americans is the best not-Matt Groening/Cartoon Network/Xiaolin Showdown cartoon series ever? You can win season 1, ya'll!

While I hate competition, I'd feel like an asshole if I didn't tell you to go see Ryn at The Moon is Dead for details.

Here's this

1:27 PM By Simon

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Spilling Fields - Vietnamese Fisherman
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

I have a Tumblr now, for some reason

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 7:03 PM By Simon

Here it is:

Trailers, yo, trailers

4:05 PM By Simon

Thailand's Dark Knight is utterly, entirely badass.

Burke and Hare gets the 90s-trailer treatment. And lots of shit jokes. Kay.

From Julie Taymor (oh, excuse me: Visionary Julie Taymor), The Tempest (my favorite Shakespeare play, because I'm learn'd and junk) gets a post-punk adaption with Helen Mirren and without Katharine Heigl/Molly Ringwald/etc. Not nearly as batshit as it would like to be (but, friends, make no mistake, it is a goodly amount of weird), with the assisted likes of Dijimon Hounsou (oh, my, Caliban, what have they done to your face? I can't say I hate it), Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Ben Whishaw, and Alan Cummings. I don't care what you say, Early Reviews, I'm seeing this shiz.

"Tonight, you shall have cramps." Guys. Shut up.

Fuck you, TV Tropes

Monday, October 4, 2010 8:03 PM By Simon

You've ruined my life.

Thoughts on Let Me In

Sunday, October 3, 2010 6:02 PM By Simon

-It really is amazing how similar this is to the original, camera-wise. There's all I'll be comparing.

-I lied.

-Please hold your death threats, kay, but I do think that Kodi Smit-McPhee is a tad better than Kare Hedebrant, in that he displays both the disturbance of Oskar/Owen, while also making him sympathetic and oddly innocent.

-Chloe Moretz is...fine.

-I liked it when both the kids were androgynous. Here, they are clearly boy and girl.

-Otherwise, this really is quite beautiful. Touching and more heartbreaking the more you think about it.

-Shit gets hardcore. Yo.

Somehow, some way

10:03 AM By Simon

The world will soldier on after my death.

Thoughts on Fear(s) of the Dark (Peur[s] du noir)

9:51 AM By Simon

-Several animators, including Charles Burns and Blutch, contribute short horror films, in a variety of styles and topics, surrounded by the Blutch-animated pencil-sketch beauty of a man with four rabid dogs, and the ink blot-like musings of a woman and her fears, that is never truly resolved until the credits.

-Beautiful animation. Just gorgeous.

-My main concern was, like most anthologies, these wouldn't fit well together, but for the most part, they did. One story, about a Japanese schoolgirl with disturbing nightmares, felt incomplete, one half shown, then another story, then the other half, and it's not until the credits that you realize it'll never be resolved.

-I know that the omnipresent ink-blot story will probably be unpopular, but I liked it. Then again, I'm a sucker for philisophical musing.

Thoughts on The Wayward Cloud

9:43 AM By Simon

-A surreal musical quasi-sequel to What Time is it There?, from the director of Goodbye, Dragon Inn, the main characters from the former reunite, the man having gone from selling watches to porn, the girl continuing her way, he tries to keep her from finding out his profession, in the backdrop of a city water shortage, the government encouraging citizens to drink watermelon juice instead.

-While not as extremely silent as GDI, there are long bits of inactivity, or mundane stretches--he helps her get her keys from the dried cement they're caught in, he sleeps, she watches, he hangs out under her table, she watches, etc--and some entertaining musical numbers loosely related to the story, an alarm clock, if you will.

-Also, watermelon-fueled sex scenes. A bit of a disturbing final scene. Right.

Thoughts on The Social Network

Saturday, October 2, 2010 2:38 PM By Simon

-What can I say? The general consensus appears to hole up. Armie Hammer, as the Winklevoss twins, is comic brilliance. There's Dude from Art School Confidential, playing the other kind of college douchebag. Jesse Eisenberg is rather brilliant, making a part that is almost all the dreaded Reacting convincing, and despite his borderline-autistic interactions, you can see the wheels turning. Andrew Garfield, as Eduardo Saverin (Savarin?), co-founder and professional foil to Mark Zuckerberg, is less showy, but marvelously helpless as he tries to keep up with his friend (he doesn't even know how to change his relationship status, which, after five minutes on Facebook, is actually quite fucking frustrating). Justin Timberlake is the pop star brand of charismatic, as Sean Parker, Napster creator and designated Bad Influence.

-Rooney Mara has a seminal, but relatively bit role, with maybe three scenes, as Erica, Zuckerberg's girlfriend who, in the course of an already-infamous five-minute opening, breaks up with him over his offhanded sexism and general assholery. So, basically, the movie rises and sets on her.

-Brenda Song, who, people, I first knew as that chick from that Disney show about those blonde twins that, one of them, anyway, was in The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Anyway, she's rather good here, as the psychotic girlfriend (which is a totally different kind of psychotic) and former groupie of Eduardo. All of her parts in the trailer, though, were never really focused, and I kept assuming it was Rooney Mara.

-Anyway. I want to say this be the hottest young cast of the year, with so many up-and-comers you've got to wonder who's left to do the E! interviews, except using 'hottest' to refer to anything not involving the sun or coffee is, I'm afraid, not in my vocabulary.

-One thing that really made me laugh for some reason, these tiny bits of subtle humor that I think David Fincher put in, was, when Mark is first typing the word 'facebook' onto a Livejournal blog (oh, those days...), the computer read it as a typo.

-You know what? Say what you will about Zuckerberg's true intentions--autistic frathole with mad hacker skills or evil genius with mad hacker skillz--but I kind of think, in the movie, anyway, he secretly made Facebook, knowing it would bring about such phenomena, at least around Harvard campus, so that he could bring everyone else down to his level of social awkwardness. It's not a coincidence, or ironic, it's intentional and fucking conspiratorial. Ahem.

-I liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, okay? So I won't say this is his comeback. I'll just say it's his return to confronting, probing, masterful storytelling.

-Sorkin's dialogue isn't half bad either. I just wish there wasn't obnoxious people commenting on every easy joke right behind me.

You want multitasking?

9:57 AM By Simon

I've somehow managed to alternate between The Wayward Cloud, Boxing Helena, He Died With a Falafel in His Hand, and Treeless Mountain since last night. Granted, I haven't finished any of them...

Thoughts on Tenebrae

Friday, October 1, 2010 7:22 PM By Simon

-In a surprisingly focused plot for Argento, a popular American writer goes on tour in Rome, only to get caught up in a murder mystery inspired by his latest.

-One shot that I just loved: a man is investigating a crime scene, bends down, and the killer, behind him, literally replaces his image on screen. It's been used a dozen times after, but I think this was the first. I just love it.

-Certainly among Argento's best, but I stand by Suspiria.

-I haven't seen all of his movies, granted, but I think this might have the most bodies.

-Oh, god, when will he just give up dubbing? The acting's bad enough without overdramatic line readings in strained Italian accents.

-Nice subversion, my dear Dario. Now get back to not being shit. You've had enough downtime.

-Very...sexually charged. More nudity than normal, most suggestive talk, etc.

-Yes. Right.