Thoughts on No Strings Attached

Sunday, January 30, 2011 9:29 AM By Simon

-Because airbrushed Natalie Portman is no Natalie Portman of mine.

-For once, a movie that must rely on the charms of its female cast. Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig, and Olivia Thirlby are wasted, but make the most of it, as second-bananas to Natalie Portman who, as funny as she is here, is too adorable for me to buy as a cynic. I wanted the entire movie to be about them and Guy Branum. And then, of course, there's Lake Bell, neurotic coworker of Ashton Kutcher's. Even Abby Eliot shows up to do a Drew Barrymore impression.

-This movie is fun. I mean, a lot of romantic comedies, are oppressively self-serious, gimmicky, sexist and stupid. This knows it's limitations, a very confused Judd Apatow underling, but it's fun. Enough quirky sidekicks and frolicking about the city at night to make it entirely, utterly pleasant to watch on a plane.

-Here's what confounded me: I forget where exactly they all lived (I'll say LA or San Francisco), but it looked fairly swanky. So, Natalie Portman and Greta Gerwig and Mindy Kaling or Kapling or whatever (fuck, I don't feel like looking it up) and Guy Branum are all doctors sharing a nice, relatively small apartment. This, I buy. BUT, my loves, Ashton Kutcher's pussy-ass TV show assistant lives, with, apparently, one roommate or indeterminate occupation, lives in a motherfucking house, a motherfucking modern, art-deco, hooked-the-fuck-up house. I don't know if his dad (played by Kevin Kline, who my mother laments got so. old.) gives him an allowance or something, but shit.

-The clincher, the big profession of 'If I git you now, I ain't neva lettin' you go!' love, the one in this movie, set the entire theatre off in awwwww-ing hysterics. God. Dammit.

Thoughts on The Piano Teacher

9:23 AM By Simon

-Isabelle Huppert shrinks your balls.

-Shitshitshit that scene in the bathroom SHIT. That was just fucking unpleasant. I mean, I can handle most vagina-adjacent mutilation in cinema, but this was fucking...

-Speaking from modern sensibilities, I can easily call Black Swan a spiritual prequel. I mean, had Nina been a piano player who didn't end like she did, she might've grown to be Huppert. We already see the releasing of unconventional sexuality and physical altercations with her mother. Nina can't stay innocent forever, but she's unaccustomed and ill-prepared for healthy adulthood, and, we might imagine, not in possession of enough of an education to pursue any alternative field, or live apart from her mother.

-Right. So.

This song is awesome, and you can all suck it

Friday, January 28, 2011 8:27 PM By Simon

Thoughts on Dogtooth

12:43 PM By Simon

-A domineering father (Christos Stergioglou), a complacent mother (Michelle Valley), a curiously rebellious older daughter (Aggeliki Papoulia), a shy young daughter (Mary Tsoni), and an (evidentally) sexually selfish son live together in a bizarre world within their swanky compound, with only the father allowed to leave for work and supplies. The children have never left the compound, and through warnings of certain death outside the fence, a fabled brother who lives just beyond after being cast out, and renaming of 'outside' words to apply to household items ('phone' is a saltshaker, etc), they are in place to never attempt to do so. Passionless sex, incest, animal mutilation, and the like ensue.

-So bizarre is the opening ten minutes that when the hardcore shit shows up, you take it with a shrug, because what were you expecting? A grotesque world painted in pastels, whites, and red balloons, offering no explanation but for a passing reference to protecting their children from corruption.

-Performances are lovely all around, but really, it's the director's show. Yorgos Lanthimos gives us a world claustrophobic, tight and controlled, just barely hiding the sometimes-subliminal, sometimes-not brutality crawling under the projection of the camera, the skin of the actors, the shrubbery lining the fence, the good job stickers attached to the childrens' headboards. Everything about this film is coated in frank transgression disguised as security. I love it.

-Best movie reference ever.

Thoughts on Opera

12:10 PM By Simon

-Dario, what the fuck is going on with you lately? Do I have to tape the needles to your motherfucking eyes in front of whatever screen is currently playing Opera until you ditch this whole 3-D Dracula nonsense and get back to pretty slaughter of pretty girls? Gawd.

-Honestly, one day you're going to drive me into the arms of Mario Brava, and then where will we be?


-Anyway, the gist of this good old-fashioned giallo is that, when a famed opera diva gets mowed down by a car, her novice understudy is called in to fill the role of Lady Macbeth in the opera Macbeth. But then, because this play/opera is cursed, and also shenanagins, people start getting knocked off in creatively ketchup-y ways. Daria Niccoladi (who's name I can never spell right) gets a particularly spectacular death, which isn't a spoiler, because this is Argento, so you know everyone's going to die anyway.

-I bring you to a moment: Our Noble Lead is trapped inside her apartment by the killer, when suddenly, out of the blue, a little girl, only seen once in some random non-sequiter early in the film, pops out of the fucking air vent to escort ONL to safety. I do believe my 'What the fuck?' was somewhat audible.

-Dear sweet bloody Jesus of Nazer-fucking-Reth, I will see you in hell, dubbing.

Thoughts on Pollock

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 4:06 PM By Simon

-Pretty much got bumped up on my queue because this Reel Insight episode. So.

-A hardcore biopic of Jackson Pollock, the guy who, to this day, eggs on rich art students with carpal tunnel. Starring and directed by Ed Harris, with Marcia Gay Harden as his long-suffering wife Lee. Some Val Kilmer here, some Jennifer Connolly there, mostly in negligible parts.

-Shit, this guy was a dick at the end there.

-A fantastic biopic that foregoes any sentiment towards it's main character in favor of actual storytelling, picking and choosing where to pick up in his life (thankfully cutting out any shots to when he was a kid).

Greatest Ending (with music) (of recent era) (that's what she said)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:00 PM By Simon

While my paramours in the movie blogging hippity-hop, happidy-hap, or otherwise flim-flanger are atwitter about the Oscar nominations (which I completely forgot about until I got home, because, as always, I don't give a shit), all I can say is: cunnilingus will get you nowhere these days (wave to the camera, GoslingKunisMoore!), Barbara Hershey may take solace in the fact that at least she wasn't replaced by [insert baity supporting female performance you hated that wasn't nominated here], Andrew Garfield is my official favorite Woobie, the poor dear, let Scott Pilgrim's official cultdom commence, and according to general opinion, Waiting for Superman can kiss my ass. And now, your feature presentation.


I Am Love
After the funeral of her eldest son, Tilda Swinton's repressed Russian-Italian housewife of a powerful Milanese family, in a frantic, don't-think-about-it-before-you-chicken-out race, set to dramatic violins, rushes upstairs to change into sweat clothes, after having told her husband she was having an affair with her late son's chef friend...oh, jeez, nothing can top that final shot--the camera has turned away to catch the closeted daughter sharing a look, first with her mother, than with the rest of her family (who all have conflicted looks of sadness and you're-dead-to-me), and when the camera goes back, it quite literally jogs around the entrance, where we find that she is gone. Cut to credits.

Of course, I have nothing against the dream-like final-final shot, but I loved the regular final shot too much to have it sullied by closure.

What now?

Thoughts on The Green Hornet

Sunday, January 23, 2011 10:35 PM By Simon

-Yeah, I saw it. I needed some quality time with my motherfucking mother, what of it?

-You know.

-Jay Chou's grasp of English is purely theoretical.

-And yet, he is rather adorable, and I'm impressed with his character. Instead of being some Mystic Asian Dragon Warrior, he's as close to a multifaceted character as this movie will get. You still wonder why the fuck he's chilling with fucking Rogan, but he's just as prone to jealousy, stupidity, and horniness as any other idiot in the movie. He's got some backstory (very little, but...), he's somewhat mystefied at his own Mad Skillz as Rogan ('s Britt Reid), he gets pissy and is not infallible and his and Rogan's buddy-ness, as chemistryless as it is, is still kind of sweet. He's not a caricature, is what I'm saying.

-Rogan does his stoner thing, which I get wearier with everyday.

-One, maybe two, scenes of Gondry-ness. This, my friends, is a travesty.

-They kill dudes with the reckless abandon of a heavily eviscerated script. Seemingly average dudes would freak the fuck out at having just killed a gaggle of guys, right?

-This has killed Inglourious Basterds for me, guys. Christoph Waltz, what are you doing?

-Fuck off, Cameron Diaz.

-More. Tom. Wilkinson.

-Da Franco!

8:03 PM By Simon,,20246031,00.html

So, in case you didn't know or nothing...

Friday, January 21, 2011 12:47 PM By Simon

I am quite the fangirl. Of pretty much anything I watch. For instance, right now my one and only love is Criminal Minds.

Yeah, it's one of those shows.

(Thank Sister for the impressive captioning skillz. Webpage Design class has taught her much.)

It's a show about a bunch of people who hunt serial killers using facial ticks and magic. It used to star Mandy Patinkin, but then he got all pussy ass and left in favor of trains. He was replaced by the dude who voiced Fat Tony on the Simpsons.

This man solves crimes.

And it has the chick from The Virgin Suicides and the chick from, I don't know, Huff, and the guy from that soap opera (see above), and some chick I've never seen anywhere else, and, of course, Matthew Gray Gubler. He was in (500) Days of Summer, but more importantly, here he plays the woobiest character I've ever seen. Ever.

Just thought I'd share.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 3:58 PM By Simon

Other Movies Lately (in 10 words or less)

Monday, January 17, 2011 2:43 PM By Simon

-Tilda Swinton totally understood that Indian-American guy. Multilingual prettiness.

-The mole people are alive and well.

-Peter Sellers digs the counterculture, except when he doesn't.

-This is Godard selling out?

-Amelie-lite ethnic wackiness, silly and amusing.

-Shut the fuck up, Barbra Streisand.

Thoughts on Breaking the Waves

Sunday, January 16, 2011 11:27 AM By Simon

-What the fuck, world?

-A childlike, devoutly religious woman named Bess (Emily Watson) marries a foreign oil worker, Jan (Stellan Skarsgaard), who must leave for the barges not long after the wedding. Distraught, she prays that he comes home, and immediately afterward, he's severely injured, almost completely paralyzed. Thinking it's her fault, when he requests that she sleep with other men and describe it to him so they 'can be together', she takes on the task with tragic determination.

-Lars von Trier, why must you torture the most innocent women on the fucking planet? Watson, and Bjork, and Gainsbourg, and soon Dunst, and Kidman, and Howard (though one could argue it's the same character, but fuck off). Have you been watching Fight Club?

-Terribly shot, but I believe that's the point. An excellent examination of faith. Funny, mostly sad, mostly gut-wrenching, mostly depressing, a bit bittersweet. I'll see you in hell.

Thoughts on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

11:16 AM By Simon

-Don't know about you, but I've known this film as the owner of the semi-iconic image of Bette Davis snarling out a window with Joan Crawford cowering behind her. You know the one.

-Psycho-biddy, my ass. She was psycho long before she got old. Can't we all just get along.

-I knew something was up when they made Joan Crawford as the saintly martyr among the pair. Come one, what do you take me for, Robert Altman?

-Melodramatic, pulpy, exhaustive, disturbing, and deliciously bitchy.

-Right. Baby Jane (Bette Davis) used to be a bratty child star of semi-disturbing hit songs, but as she got older, it was her much-abused sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) who found stardom as a studio actress, with Jane only getting work because it's required in Blanche's contract. Driven by jealousy, Jane supposedly rams Blanche with their car at the gates of their shared home, ruining both careers. Years later, they're living together, Blanche dependent on Jane for care, Jane dependent on Blanche for money. And then Jane loses her shit.

-Do kindly watch this movie with your grandmother, my dears.

Thoughts on Gypsy 83

Friday, January 14, 2011 9:03 PM By Simon

-Sara Rue stars as a slightly overweight, goth aspiring musician who worships the ground Stevie Nicks walks on. Finding out about the 'Night of a Thousand Stevies' event in New York, she and her fellow goth bestie (Kett Turton) embark on a roadtrip where feelings are processed and revelations made and junk and shit.

-Perfectly fine little road movie, with some explicit gay sex and goths running amok and Karen Black.


I, my good chaps, have got a test tomorrow

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:53 PM By Simon

Combining of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Plus a shit-ton of other things I don't care about, because I'm just waiting to get out of Microbiology and get put into Astronomy or Physics, both of which are preferable to the membrane of the membrane of the cell nucleous. Or whatever.

In conclusion, hope you in the East Coast had a lovely snow day.

Why I love old movies

Monday, January 10, 2011 8:53 PM By Simon

The sound of the film running, even during quiet moments, you can hear it running, the projector humming, sometimes the flapping of the the end of it as reels change.

Because actors then found a glorious equilibrium between the mad flailing of the silent era and the quiet brooding of today.

I love the spots and scratches that no amount of restoration can remedy, a badge of honor, that this film has managed years and years before being rediscovered by video or Criterion.

Scores were epic and rarely reflected what was actually going on onscreen, studios ruled in America and arthouse ruled in Europe, German Renaissance and French New Wave and American Studio fodder duked it out in theatres, celebrities crept away to Swedish clinics for addiction, where it was rough and brutal and unforgiving, and one wasn't celebrated for such things. Where celebrity couples were the Bogies and Bacalls, the Hepburns and Tracys, even the Godards and Karinas, where the worst they could throw at an actress who was perceived to have answered a dual casting call/personal ad was 'his little soulmate', because even the press, in their way, were classy, if not by choice, then by censorship, which is never good, but that's besides the point.

Every bit of violence, of sex, or language, feels all the more tantalizing because you know it pissed somebody off.

Faces glowed in heavenly light, tears made the face unashamedly wet, guys like Fassbinder were a novelty more than a norm (although I suspect he'd be a rebel even today, because he was a tough guy, but a tough guy of, in loosest terms, flexible sexuality), Klaus Kinski provided the fodder...

But the American films were so pleasant. No pretense of relatability, no force-fed lies about job description versus income, plainess meant to equal glasses. No, no, they knew they were hot, and rich, and made sure we did too, without patronising us with lamentations of relationships and weight. Escapism as it was meant to be.

Melodrama was La Corbeau , salty mysteries and noir. Comedy was anything you found funny. PC was a myth. Sensitivity was a myth. WHat you saw was what you got, unless you wanted to see more.

I ramble. Of course I do. I love the sound of the projector, don't you?

Thoughts on Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

7:49 PM By Simon

-On the title: at first, I thought it was maybe an English translation of the script, but it was more proper English/German than the line originally spoken, so...

-Beautiful, mythical, almost anecdotal (not surprising, considering its origin) look on race, age, and the hypocrisy of modern society (well, then-modern German society). Of course, many of the aggressors--gossiping neighbors, a particularly boorish son-in-law played by Fassbinder, who is no great shaking actor, but my, does he love his skinny jeans--come off as cartoons, representing different types of bigots more than actual people.

-I'd almost say El Hedi ben Salem was flat. Almost.

-The gaze of a partial nihilist, a partial optimist, a partial impartial. Bits of haven, people who don't give two rats' asses about the couple's age or race differences, the landlord's son, the grocer's wife, the bartender, they all are treated as part of the scenery, nearly drowned out by the histrionics of their less accepting counterparts, but such a relief in the first act.

-Oh, I'm afraid I can never gather much critical thought towards Fassbinder.

Thoughts on The Fighter

Sunday, January 9, 2011 6:07 PM By Simon

-Look at Christian Bale's name up there. So lonely.

-Crazy harem of sisters, the undiluted nervous energy of Christian Bale, the official dirtification of Amy Adams, the fact that I just watched The Happening and can't watch Mark Walhberg do anything without giggling.

-Fuck shaky caqm.

Thoughts on My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

5:54 PM By Simon

-Michael Shannon, despite the Oscar nomination, remains the most under appreciated actor in Hollywood. Okay? Okay.

-Also, Udo Kier is the greatest actorly remnant of the German New Wave. Like, this is what he said in an interview with the AV Club, about an IMDb error:

AVC: You’re listed on IMDb in Moscow On The Hudson as “Gay Man On Street (uncredited).” What was that all about?

UK: I cannot answer you, because it’s totally unknown to me what you just asked me, and also very boring.

-A police procedural used as a tool for the twisted vision of Herzog and, to a lesser extent, Lynch. I mean, it's a warped combination of their trademarks: the terror beneath suburbia, love of nature, descent into madness, non-regional animals in unusual places, Grace Zabrinski.

-Honestly, I had to do homework while watching this, and before I can actually give a good review, I need to watch it properly. So...yeah.

Movies I have little to say about, but will gather them here in a gaggle of mini-reviews for the sake of order

Saturday, January 8, 2011 4:43 PM By Simon

Lila Says, about a teenager wasting away his time in an Arab ghetto in Marseilles with his mother, unemployed and with no prospects, when a provocative young white girl moves in with her aunt. Naturally, the two get it on.

A pleasant enough romance, aided mostly by the charismatic performance of Vahina Giocante as Lila. Mohammed Khouas is okay, pretty good, but it's the kind of unspectacular performance that, with time away from it, can be mistaken for flat. The subplot, wherein main character Chimo distances from his friends, who start harassing Lila, shows up intermittently, with no great enthusiasm until the end, where the director Ziad Doueiri suddenly remembers them, and gives them something randomly horrible to do. Well, not random, but the three and the plot are so underdeveloped it's...yeah. So.

24 City, directed by Jia Zhangke, is a quasi-documentary, quasi-narrative, quasi-quasi-quasi everything, following three generations of workers in Chengdu, as a state-owned factory makes way for a modern apartment complex.

Not terribly sure if the interviews were real or just actors reciting composite lines of thousands of interviewees, but they're all kind of heartwrenching in their own way. I cried, dude. For totally.

Thoughts on Dead Man

2:19 PM By Simon

-A scrawny, wimpy fellow by the name of William Blake (not that one) (Johnny Depp) arrives in the Westiest West town of Machine, having received a letter in Cleveland promising him a job as a clerk. However, by the time he gets there, his job has been given away. With no money to get back to civilization, he shacks up with a former prostitute and seller of paper flowers named Thel (Mili Avital). When her ex-boyfriend catches them, a shootout ensues that leaves all but Blake dead, and himself with a soon-to-be fatal gunshot wound. Stumbling about for a bit, he is discovered by Nobody (Gary Farmer), an American Indian who has been cast out of his tribe awhile ago. Nobody, believing Blake to be the reincarnation of William Blake, is determined to get him to the Pacific so he may take his proper place in the spirit world. And, of course, there are bounty hunters.

-There's much you can say to describe this film. An existential road trip with a refreshingly honest and sensitive portrayal of Native Americans (Nobody is neither Magical nor Savage, and has his own perfectly valid reasons for both helping Blake and insisting that he kill as many White men as possible), a character study on what the Wild West does to a man, a thriller, a ghost story, a love story, a drama, a chase, an LGBT film (Iggy Pop is, indeed, a cross-dressing Bible salesman, but I doubt Association would take too kindly to him, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jared Harris. They do get the best scene, though), a war story, or simply one big metaphor. None would be wrong.

-Crispin Clover is a creepy-ass, coal-covered train boilerman. John Hurt is a rich man's secretary. Robert Mitchum is the rich man. Lance Henriksen is a cannibalistic bounty hunter. Women are limited to Thel, a woman giving a blowjob in an alley, and Nobody's girlfriend, who has a lengthy and probably funny argument with him in either Cree or Blackfoot (I can't tell). Speaking of which, unsubtitled Native American languages. Surely.

-One long death scene.

-My favorite Jim Jarmusch film.

-Blake goes from pussy accountant to badass gunslinger. Johnny Depp, dear, please start doing stuff like this again. I can't take another Tim Burton film.

-Goregously shot.

In Regards to a Recent Comment

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 5:02 PM By Simon

My sister? Awesome.

4:10 PM By Simon

Yes. She is.

On this blog of mine, I may, on occasion, paint her in a less-than-flattering light. Sometimes stupid, sometimes fussy, sometimes bitchy. But that is irrelevant. Mostly because I ran out of adjectives.

My dearest sister is the smartest, coolest person in the state, at least. She straightened her hair and did not immediately become a traitor asshole. She has more piercings in her ear than hair. She's a lover of all, black, white, Chinese, a lovely grapefruit. She may read books that I find, among other things, legally retarded, but dammit, she's funny.

She's also prettier than all them bitches in our school. Mostly because she doesn't have monstrous amounts of eyeliner on. But also other things!

She does to eyebrow piercings what Lil Wayne does to pot. She is also a juvenile delinquent, and will most likely die like Bonnie or Thelma and Louise. She is a connoisseur of zombies. And Johnny Depp's fedora.

A Johnny Cash lover, a T-shirt maker (which she'll totally make on demand, which is pretty hilarious on occasion), a ninja, doodler of grotesque imagery, an old-fashioned gal who still believes mixtaps are the highway to her man's heart, proprieter of over 10,000 IPodly songs, a girl who made me a CD collection all my own, who bought me a badass mustache keychain, lover of Clint Eastwood and Ennio Morricone, obscure languages that she doesn't know, a signer of the Jane Austen Stephen King Marriage Proposal Petition, Neil Gaiman BFF, and she's secretly Jesse James (the outlaw, not the husband) (which is the name of her English paper).

Yup. Rockstar, scientist, lover of women. Probably dozens. Not that she's a lesbian, boys. Artifical ginger, piercer of body parts, hers only half the time. Warrior-poet. Honorary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Executioner of all peace-sign offenders. Polite anarchist. But two minutes older than me. Failure of life. David Lynch's muse. Book blogger. Lizard. Wearer of boots. These boots were made for walking.

Photographer of lovers, only mid-coitus half the time. Proud owner of a perfectly healthy sense of eyeballs. Saucy. Cult member.

Sure, her knowledge of film is based solely around what I tell her, and her obsessive love of Four Brothers is rather embarrassing for me, but dagnabbit, she's me sister, and I love the bitch!


Thoughts on Assorted Things

3:47 PM By Simon

Links regarding ME! And some of you, I guess. But links! AHOY!

1:21 PM By Simon


So, like, I for totally got interviewed by Joe Monster at From Beyond Depraved. It's not because he put out a general notice and I, uh, volunteered. He actually cared what I had to say, you guys.

Because of our shared loved of The Brothers Bloom, I won Sugary Cynicism's banner quote contest for, like, the second time. I requested Nikola Tesla obliterating hipsters with his mind, but Sugary, being the ingenious champ that she is, set me straight: Nikola Tesla harnessing hipsters with his mind.

And all you people.

BlueHibiscus at D) All of the Above retrospects the shit out of 2010.

Jose at Movies Kick Ass gives a beautifull written review of Black Swan.

You know what's a good webcomic? Romantically Apocalyptic. I might have to start Webcomic(s) again.

Andrew at Encore Entertainment writes of the supreme undervaluation of Yaya DaCosta in The Kids Are All Right.

Robert at His Eyes Were Watching Movies finally sees Exit Through the Gift Shop. It is glorious.

Glenn at Stale Popcorn gives his oh-so-amusing thoughts on Breathless.

Amber at nostomanic fulfills three childhood dreams, two which inolve dairy products in cans.

Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies has a new cast, including Kim Morgan, who, of course, I love, because Sunset Gun is endlessly brilliant, and on top of that, she's married to Guy Maddin, maddest director this side of Ottawa. See, I know Canada. Will this be on any channel I have. It fucking better be.

McSweeney's guide to sitcom writing.

My dear, darling sister Danielle wrote about thrillers the other day, and I'm pretty damn impressed.

Silents and Talkies asks: Is that mustache really necessary? The answer: fuck yes.

12:23 PM By Simon

Louis Zamperini

Machine of Death

Thoughts on The Virgin Spring

Sunday, January 2, 2011 12:29 PM By Simon

-A medieval Swedish tale of a father's merciless response to the rape and murder of his daughter.

-Yes, well...where to start?

-Watching Ingmar Bergman films always make me want a sandwich. I don't know why. It might be all the bread.

-Last House on the Left drags it out.

SPOILERS, as there is no other way to discuss such a film.

-Morally bipolar, if there is such a thing, certainly morally ambivalent. You can see why audiences of the day--right before the sixties entered the sixties--would make a fuss over the semi-infamous rape scene--even though it was suspiciously short, a fact I would find funny if the context weren't so sad. But what they seem to be so callously ignoring is the murder of the Boy, victim of abuse (by said brothers) more than he is a member of the guilty party (while his brothers raped and murdered poor Karin (Birgitta Pettersson), he stood by silently, and tripped her when she tried to escape, but he didn't seem terribly aware of what was going to happen beforehand, and come on, he was, like, ten), but nonetheless...

-If I were a more dedicated, organized, intelligent reviewer, I would let the film sit with me for awhile, take the time to write out a detailed, insightful review for both new and old viewers, about the conflict underneath it all between paganism and Christianity, Odin and God, and how the 'wild' foster sister Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom) had placed a curse on Karin that morning, and that nullified the prayers of father Tore (Max von Sydow) and mother Mareta (Birgitta Valberg), oh, how ironic...but it seems that anything I can possibly say about such a beautiful and distinguished film has been said, judging by the booklet within the Criterion case. As you may or may not know, I'm no film theorist, and I rarely make any deep observations. So I can't comment on the implications of the most powerful scene being shot from behind, or the use of shadows, the juxtaposition between how one girl rides her horse along the beach and how the other does.

-Quiet but never boring, tension without any music, grief without any great sobs, the slow process of planning your revenge against the quick, savage way you enact it, the cruel indifference of the rapists and the cruel indifference of the father, one passionless, one...not. At all. A fairy tale that morphs into a fable, doom lrking behind the flowers, and it all just renders me speechless.

Cartoons that shaped my childhood 2: Xiaolin Showdown

Saturday, January 1, 2011 9:59 PM By Simon , In

Guys. Guys. If you've never heard of this show, I sincerely feel sorry for you. Organize yourselves a telethon.

Fine. So, it's about these dudes call the Xiaolin Dragons, who chill out at the Xiaolin Temple in China, and it was created by Christy Hui. And the main characters were Omi, this tiny little guy who lived at the Temple his whole life, and he was the Dragon of Water, and was yellow and had this huge head, and a lot of the show was cultural clashes with the three new Dragons who are brought in the first episode. There's Kimiko, voiced by that chick who does every single female voice on every single Cartoon Network/Nickelodean/assorted cartoon ever, a Japanese import who, of course, is always wearing this awesome outfits and fucking around with various technological marvels because, of course, her dad owns the biggest company in the world or something. And then there's Raimundo, who's the best character, even though he is often too stupid to live, he's a Brazilian circus performer or something, he always wears a medallian in his street (non-Xiaolin robe) clothes, and he's the "clown" of the group, but that's stupid to say, and the only reason he's not overtly stereotypical is because I don't think there are any well-known Brazilian stereotypes. And Clay, a Texan cowboy (god) who don't fight girls and is all placid and shit.

They are ruled by Master Fung, a wise old monk. Their mission is to gather all the Shen Gong Wu (huge backstory, kind of badass, but fairly long), and whenever a new one activates, their wise-crackin' dragon scroll-guarder Dojo Kanojo Cho senses it, and they go off to whatever part of the world it's at, where they have to battle some villains to get it, usually wannabe supervillain Jack Spicer and his much more sinister floating-head-ghost Wuya, who in the second season gets her body back and, ah, never mind. Anyway, when they do battle, they must declare (wait for it) Xiaolin Showdown, wherein they yell "Gong Yi Tanpai", which means "Begin the Showdown", but apparently it was meant more as a pseudo-Chinese way of saying "Ready Set Go!", and then they used any Shen Gong Wu they had, and it would be one-on-one, except for when it wasn't.

And it was all kind of ridiculous, because a big schtick of Omi's was that he kept fucking up common idioms, like 'kick your but' or 'Mad skills', and someone, mostly Raimundo, would correct him, and I'd be like, how the fuck does he know them? Because they were mostly American idioms, and the only American of the lot was Clay, who spent most of his slang time on long-winded metaphors involving cattle ranching and cacti. Which brings up, are they all really speaking English, or Chinese, or what? Because so far we got Texan English, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and I'll assume Jack Spicer was American. This shit is weird.

I'll admit, the first season was bad. Formulaic and stilted. But then the second season got cooler, and the third season got hardcore. Especially the series finale.

Did you know childrens' TV shows aren't allowed to have official series finales? Because the executives want kids to keep watching reruns in hopes of a new episode. Dicks.

Let's bring this show back! It's so fucking awesome!

Do I sound especially teenager-ish today? Maybe. More uninhibitedy fangirlish.

Every single episode is on Youtube. Go. Watch. It.

Also, it had the best opening ever:

Go here

2:53 PM By Simon

Why have reviews dried up?

2:51 PM By Simon

Because I've been busy watching old SNL on Netflix, and have only watched (I think) two movies in the past week: Being There and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. What am I to do? Wear it out of my system. G'day.

What a happy new year this will be.

12:09 AM By Simon

Or not. Depending on how odd numbers have worked out for you so far.