Friday, August 17, 2012

Ed Wood (1994)

Directed By: Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker

The Main Review: Ed Wood is a 1994 film that chronicles the life of the noble, optimistic Edward D. Wood Jr. The film shows the creation of three of his most well known films, Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, and the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space. Scenes from each film are recreated wonderfully and the actors involved to a phenomenal job portraying their characters. Johnny Depp plays Ed Wood and Martin Landau gives a unforgettable performance as Bela Lugosi.
And, let me say, Ed Wood and Bela: Definitely a better love story than Twilight.

Ed Wood is a cheery transvestite who idolizes Orson Welles and wants to be a great writer/director/producer. He gets a break when he's hired to create a sex change picture - on the basis that he's the most qualified for the job due to his love of wearing women's clothing and he can get his newly-made friend, Bela Lugosi, to star in it. The flick becomes more of an autobiographical story of Ed Wood's own transvestism, which embarrasses his girlfriend, Dolores (Sarah Jessica Parker) to no end.

After that film - Glen or Glenda - doesn't do as well as he promised, he tries to make his next movies, Bride of the Atom and Grave Robbers from Outer Space - both films having to go through a name change change before being released. He continually has trouble with finances. And, throughout all of this, he looses his (terrible) girlfriend but finds a much cooler one, Kathy. He deals with Bela's drug addiction and death. And he gets all of his friends to become Baptists.
Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: Um, well... I mean, if you know anything about Ed Wood, you know that he was never really famous or appreciated when he was alive. He descended into alcoholism and monster porn, dying in his fifties. Two years later, he was declared the worst director ever, which has boosted his popularity.

Scenes To Watch Out For: Whenever anyone mentions Boris Karloff to Bela Lugosi. And, later, when Bunny asks their Lugosi-Look-Alike to call Karloff a cocksucker.

Ed Wood's dance in drag.
Really, any of the scenes with Martin Landau are amazing. He portrays Lugosi fantastically.

Anything Else: This film is even better to watch if you're familiar with the films shown in it. The care and detail in their recreation is really quite amazing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Directed By: Kevin Smith

Starring: Seth Rogan, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson

The Main Review: Zack And Miri Make a Porno is a 2008 film that is basically as straightforward as it's title. Two roommates, Zack and Miri, who've known each other since elementary school, are faced with financial problems and the probability of getting evicted. They decide to make a porno to bring in some cash and become involved with some colorful characters, like Bubbles (played by the magnificent Traci Lords) and Lester the Molester Cockenschtuff (his porn name is Pete Jones). Doesn't that sound quirky and fun? I mean, how can you mess up a film about making porn? 
Maybe by sneakily making it a rom-com.

Zack and Miri are both in their late twenties and struggling to pay their bills. Zack works at a coffee shop while Miri works at a department store. On the night before their ten-year high school reunion, Miri is trying on clothes at the coffee shop. Two teenagers film her changing in her gigantic, granny panties and post it on the Internet. She becomes an instant hit  known as "Granny Panties."

Later, at the reunion, Miri is flirting shamelessly with Bobby Long, an old crush, while Zack gets acquainted with Bobby's boyfriend, Brandon. It turns out that Brandon is a gay porn star and, when he is introduced to Miri, he tells her about her current success as Granny Panties, which she had no idea about.

In the next few days, Zack and Miri's power, water, and heat are all shut off. While in a bar, trying to figure out what to do next, Zack thinks back to Brandon and suggests that they make a porn and sell it to people they went to high school with. Miri reluctantly accepts.
After much discussion, and getting Zack's coworker, Delaney, to produce the movie, they decide to created a porn parody called "Star Whores." They hire Bubbles, Lester, Stacey, Barry and a cameraman, Deacon, and get down to making their porno. However, the day they're about to start filming, the garage they were keeping all of their supplies in gets demolished. They have to start over from scratch and Zack, having a stroke of brilliance, decides that they'll film their porno at the coffee shop he works at and call it "Swallow My Cockuccino."

The filming goes well. However, when Zack and Miri are going to film their sex scene, they both seem a little apprehensive. They promise each other that it's just sex and their feelings towards each other won't change afterwords. 
Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: Zack and Miri have very romantic and intimate sex. They both seem to develop a deep, sudden love for each other. 

Zack and Miri's porno friends pay the bills for that month in an effort to thank them for casting them in their porn. They throw a pre-wrap party. Stacey asks Miri if it's okay that she has sex with Zack. Miri, who seems totally not okay with it, tells her to talk to Zack. Zack seems to accept Stacey and they go off together. 

The next night, Miri is supposed to film her scene with Lester, but Zack gives that scene away to Stacey. Zack tries to talk to Miri about their recent love-making. He tells her he loves her but she's just pissed that he slept with Stacey. He tells her that he didn't actually sleep with Stacey and Miri becomes remorseful and seems interested in being with Zack. However, he leaves before she can say anything.

Three months later, Zack is working at a carnival. Delaney finds him and shows him what they have of the porn. He shows him the scene between Miri and Zack - which would truly be a boring porno scene if it were ever released. He tells Zack that 'the movie still needs an ending.' Zack goes to Miri and professes his love to her. She reciprocates his feelings and everyone is happy. The end.

Scenes To Watch Out For: When Stacey is doing anal with Lester. Just, uh... Close your eyes when Zack comes into the shot.

"Zack and Miri Make YOUR Porno" epilogue.

Anything Else: Um, yeah... Was it just me or did the whole romantic thing between Miri and Zack just come outta nowhere? I just figured they were buds. But, oh, I forgot. Heterosexual men and women can't be  just buds, can they?

I'm not being totally fair. This movie was fun, for the most part, and funny. The acting and writing were both good. I just wasn't prepared for the romance. So, I bet if you know about that going in, you can prepare yourself for it and enjoy the movie quite thoroughly. I mean, I'd hope so.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brave (2012)

Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson

The Main Review: Brave is a 2012 animated film set in the 10th century Scottish highlands. It follows the Princess Merida, a skilled archer, as she is forced to chose a boy from another clan to marry. Her mother, Elinor, has been preparing her for years for this, but Merida is having none of it. She rides off after a fight with her mother and meets a witch who gives her a spell to change her mother. Merida uses this spell but her mother changes in a way she never expected. Now she only has two days to put things right.
Ah, beautiful Scotland... You know, they filmed this all on location...

Scenes To Watch Out For: When King Fergus helps Elinor practice talking to her daughter by pretending to be Merida.

Anything Else: This movie was not what I expected. I was expecting a Scottish princess who, I dunno, goes off to war and kills dragons or something. What I got was certainly different, which doesn't necessarily mean it was bad. The movie, at it's core, is your basic kid's film family needs versus personal needs. So, while I didn't expect this, I did like it. It was enjoyable and sweet.

The animation in this is gorgeous. Whenever Merida was on screen I had a hard time looking at anything but her hair. I mean, check this shit out -
Yeah. So, visually, this film is stunning. And that, combined with an interesting story and characters, makes for one enjoyable flick.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Directed by: Behn Zeitlin

Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Gina Montana

The Main Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild is 2012 motion picture about a very wise, little girl named Hushpuppy who lives with her daddy in The Bathtub. Her father, Wink, tries to teach and prepare her for a hard life with some very stern, tough love. All the while, she has to deal with Wink being terribly ill and a storm that floods her home, causing the remainging inhabitants of Bathtub to come up with a plan to save their town when all the animals start dying. 
Also, there are giant pig-beasts.

Hushpuppy's mother swam away from Bathtub - a small isle south of the levee - when Hushpuppy was very young. So, she lives with her father. At times, he doesn't seem to know just how to raise a young girl, but he does try. However, he goes missing for a few days, leaving Hushpuppy all by herself, and, when he comes back, he's wearing a hospital bracelet and gown.

Of course, just after that happens, a big storm comes. Most people get out of The Bathtub as soon as they can, but Wink and Hushpuppy stay with a handful of other people. The Bathtub floods, but the remaining people manage by staying in elevated houses and traveling in boats (or car-boats).
However, after a few weeks, all the animals begin to die and Wink and the other Bathtub men take it into their own hands to make sure the water goes down.

Scenes To Watch Out For: Hushpuppy and Wink drinking together. (Not that I condone giving six-year-olds alcohol or anything. Don't do that. It's bad. Yadda yadda.)

All of the scenes with Hushpuppy's momma. It might just be the southern gal in me, but, when she was frying up that gator tail, I damn near drooled on myself.

The ending. Goodness gracious, did I cry. That little girl sure has some wisdom in her.

Anything Else: This film is beautiful. The acting is solid and the writing is amazing. And, while the aurochs (the big pig-beasts mentioned earlier) are clearly black pigs with horns stuck on them, they look pretty cool, if I do say so myself. So, this movie is really great. The story is breathtaking and moving. Hushpuppy's adorable. And, who doesn't love a good movie with an adorable little girl in it? Plus, y'all get to see the love and goodness that is sharing a meal of gator tail and, considering where I'm living in Utah, that's pretty amazing too. I highly recommend this amazing piece of work.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not of This Earth (1988)

Directed by: Jim Wynorsky

Starring: Traci Lords, Arthur Roberts, Lenny Juliano

The Main Review: Not of This Earth is a 1988 remake of a 1957 film. This one has Traci Lords in it - so you know it has to be good. The basic idea is that, from a distant, war-ridden planet, a race of vampiric aliens send a suited, shade-wearing man-alien. This alien, Mr. Johnson, asks Nadine Story (Traci Lords) to be his personal nurse and help him with blood transfusions. We learn that his mission is to sample and collect human blood (from busty, half-naked blondes). And believe me - there are quite a lot of busty, half-naked blondes in this movie.
And some of the most obnoxious hookers in film history.

The movie starts with your typical guy-and-girl-getting-it-on-in-a-car situation that was, of course, interrupted by Mr. Johnson landing on earth and then killing the two of them with his evil, glow-y eyes that seem to suck out life-force or something. We then get one of the best opening credit sequences I've seen in a long time.

Mr. Johnson, after about a month on Earth, goes into a clinic for a transfusion. Nadine is the on-duty nurse when he comes in. He and she argue about blood samples. He explains that he will not submit to a blood test and just wants a transfusion while she explains that that is impossible. Doctor Rochelle speaks with Mr. Johnson, who shows him that he has very little blood in his veins and then uses his mind control to make sure Rochelle will tell no one. Nadine is appointed as Johnson's personal nurse; her job being to help him with a blood transfusion twice a day.

Dr. Rochelle talks to Mr. Johnson and it's explained that Johnson has a problem with his blood. All of it "evaporates" out of his body and if he doesn't continue the transfusions, it'll all turn to dust and he'll die.
Mr. Johnson is in contact with an alien who looks like he should be at a ZZ Top concert. Apparently, Mr. Johnson needs to send a human over to Divana, the planet he's from, all while continuing the blood transfusions (to make sure the blood doesn't kill him). 

Mr. Johnson kills a whole bunch of women and drains their blood. He sends this blood back to Divana. When a Birthday Girl Stripper shows up at his house, he mind controls her and sends her to Divana as well. And, all throughout this, Nadine is engaging in witty banter with Jeremy and going on dates with her cop boyfriend and wearing revealing clothing.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: Another vampire-alien comes over from Divana (this time the alien's a busty, half-naked blonde, would you believe it?) and tells Mr. Johnson that the human he sent to Divana was killed when she arrived. Mr. Johnson sneaks the alien woman into Dr. Rochelle's office and gives her a blood transfusion. However, the blood he uses is from someone who was bitten by a rabid dog. This blood drives her crazy and kills her. Dr. Rochelle finds her (she dies in his office) and realizes that her blood was all evaporated.

At the same time, Nadine and Jeremy discover that Mr. Johnson is an evil alien. They confront him. Johnson kills Jeremy and Nadine runs off into the woods. All the while, her cop boyfriend and Rochelle are inspecting the dead alien and trying to figure out what's going on. Nadine makes it to a pay phone and calls her boyfriend, telling him to come get her. Mr. Johnson keeps trying to use his mind control on her. When he finally succeeds, he tells her to go back to his house and get into the transporter so she can be shipped to Divana. 

Nadine's boyfriend follows Mr. Johnson around by motorcycle and, finally, puts on his sirens. The high-pitched sounds cause Mr. Johnson to freak out and he drives his car off a bridge and dies. Nadine and Dr. Rochelle are released from Mr. Johnson's mind control.

Later, Nadine and her boyfriend are at Mr. Johnson's grave discussing if he was a good man or not. As they leave, another suited, shade-wearing man-alien shows up and the movie ends. The End...?

Scenes To Watch Out For: Those opening credits are hilarious. They have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film. It's brilliant. 

Anything Else: I think it's hilarious that the subtitle for this film is "Traci Lords is... Not of This Earth" when she's actually the main human character in this film. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jenifer (2005)

Directed by: Dario Argento

Starring: Steven Weber, Carrie Fleming, Brenda James

The Main Review: Jennifer is a 2005 motion picture that was another one of the short films within the Masters of Horror anthology. It's based on a ten-page comic by Bruce Jones and Berni Wrightson. The film follows Detective Frank Spivey after he saves the disfigured Jenifer from almost being decapitated by an ex-lawyer. Despite her unappealing face, he finds himself undeniably attracted to her. He soon learns, though, that she has a strong desire to eat flesh - which doesn't keep him from getting busy with her. And the movie turns into a one big hump-and-eat-people thang.
Oh, yeah. So hot.

So, Frank and his partner, Spacey, are eating Chinese food in a car when Frank notices a woman being dragged along the road by a crazed looking man. Being a noble detective, he follows them and, when the man makes a move to kill the woman, Frank shoots him. He gathers the distressed woman in his arms to see that her face is completely disfigured.

After this whole ordeal, Frank can't seem to get the woman, who he learns is named Jenifer, out of his head. He goes to the mental hospital she's being held at and takes her home with him. His wife is less than pleased and he promises to try and find her another place to stay as soon as possible. Of course, while their out searching for somewhere Jenifer can live, the two of them have car sex.
That night, Jenifer eats their cat. Frank's wife and son have enough sense to leave as soon as possible. Jenifer goes on to eat Frank's next-door-neighbor's daughter, which leads Frank to try and give Jenifer to the circus. A man comes to collect her when Frank's out and, when he comes home, he finds that man, dead, in his refrigerator. Frank takes Jenifer out into the deserted woods to start a new life.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: So, Frank and Jenifer continue to have sex this entire time. Frank gets a job in a grocery store. Jenifer eats Frank's boss's son which makes Frank finally decide that enough is enough.
Frank drags Jenifer through the woods with an ax, intending to kill her. He's spotted by a hunter, who shoots him. Before he dies, Frank whispers "Jenifer..." The hunter gathers her in his arms and, after being startled by her deformed face, she simply strokes his hand in thanks. And, you can watch the movie again to see where that goes.

Scenes To Watch Out For: When Frank has sex with Jenifer, she makes these really demonic, animalistic noises. Wouldn't that tip you off to the fact that you were having sex with, I dunno, some kind of evil monster?

Frank's son sees Jenifer and his initial response (after being horrified by her face) is too leer at her and say "Nice rack." Good job, teenage male. You keep on seeing what's truly important - boobs.

Anything Else: So, what did we learn? Um... How about, when someone eats your cat - no matter how banging hot they are - maybe you should call the cops. Because, it's just gonna escalate from there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In The Family (2011)

Directed by: Patrick Wang

Starring: Sebastian Banes, Patrick Wang, Trevor St. John

The Main Review: In the Family is a 2011 film that highlights the struggles homosexual couples can go through due to the prohibition of gay marriage. When Joey's partner, Cody, dies, Cody's sister takes over as legal guardian of Chip, Joey and Cody's son. Chip is taken away from his father and Joey is slowly cut off from the family he gained through Cody. So, with the help of his friends, Joey sets out to find a solution.
You can smell that deep, touching movie smell from a mile away.

The movie starts with a normal day in Cody, Joey, and Chip's lives. Joey is a contractor, Cody is a math teacher and Chip, their six year old, is adorably precocious. However, all of that is taken away quite suddenly when Cody gets into a car accident. After not even being allowed to visit him in the hospital, Joey is informed that Cody has died.

Joey and Chip are both grieved, but they struggle and manage. However, Joey is informed by Cody's sister, Eileen, that she was named the sole heir to Cody's inheritance in his will (which hadn't been updated since Cody was born). This placed her as Chip's legal guardian. She thanks Joey for being a good parent for all of those years and assures him that Chip will be well taken care of. Joey is outraged and refuses to give up his son. However, that Thanksgiving, when Chip goes to visit his grandmother, he's nowhere to be found when Joey comes to pick him up. A few days later, Joey is given a restraining order.

Joey talks to many lawyers who all tell him he has no case. However, Paul, a retired lawyer whose house Joey is contracting for, offers to help him. Joey says he wants a deposition and he meets up with Eileen, her husband, and their lawyer.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: So, throughout all of this, there are some flashbacks. We learn that Cody was married to Rebecca when Joey became the contractor on their house. Rebecca was pregnant with Chip and she died shortly after he was born. Joey was a constant help to Cody and, about seven months later when the house is finished, Cody makes a move on Joey. And then six years later, here we are.
At the deposition, Joey is question by some jerk lawyer (who asks inappropriate things like, "How did you seduce Cody?" and "Are you a pedophile?"). He then gets to explain his side of everything in such a beautiful way. He says he'll give up the house and any bank accounts he shared with Cody just for an opportunity to get his son back. Eileen and her husband are obviously shaken by what Joey says and walk out of the deposition.

A while later, Eileen's husband shows up on Joey's doorstep as he's packing. He explains how sorry he is for the whole situation. He tells Joey he can stay in the house and that Eileen is just having a hard time figuring out what's best to do. He gets Joey to come outside and yells out to Eileen (whose in the car) to come out and speak to Joey herself. Just as she does, Chip jumps out of the car with her and rushes over to hug his dad. 

Scenes To Watch Out For: When Cody kisses Joey for the first time. That whole scene is brilliant.

The deposition. All of it was very well done.

Despite it's abruptness, when Chip suddenly jumps out of the car and into his daddy's arms - it's the sweetest ending I can think of for this film.

Anything Else: In The Family does not rush itself. Because of this, it's just a bit short of about three hours long. So, I think, before this film can be picked up, it might need to be edited a smidgen. However, the story really was lovely and intriguing. I hope I see it again someday.

Cloudburst (2011)

Directed by: Thom Fitzgerald

Starring: Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Ficker, Ryan Doucette

The Main Review: Cloudburst is a 2011 film about two aging lesbians on their way to Canada. Stella, the foul mouthed, cowboy hat-wearing, tequila-drinking alpha female, and Dottie, the sweet, blind woman Stella is very in love with, are separated when Dottie's granddaughter tricks her into entering a nursing home. Stella liberates Dottie and they decide to go to Canada so they can legally marry after being together for thirty-one years. It's like a happier Thelma and Louise.
They even have a sexy Brad Pitt character.

So, Dottie and Stella have been living together for thirty-one years. They're clearly in love. Dottie, now blind, it taken care of solely by Stella. However, when Dottie falls off a bed (from being tickled by Stella with a vibrator), Molly, her granddaughter, thinks it's time for Dottie to be put in a old-folks home. Molly has no idea about Dottie and Stella's relationship - thinking that they're just best friends. So, telling her grandmother that she's signing something that clears Stella of any responsibility after the accident, Molly is able to dupe her grandmother in agreeing to move to a nursing home.

When Stella finds out, she's furious. So, once Dot is gone, she immediately plans a way to free Dot, which she does, and they hit the road. They stop in a diner and, after discussing how Stella could better take care of Dot if they were married, Stella proposes and Dot accepts to try being married to her. So, they set off to Canada. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker, Prentice, a modern dancer on his way to Canada as well to visit his dying mother. 

As they get closer to the border, Stella starts to get paranoid. She suggests that they split up - Dot and Prentice crossing into Canada together and her meeting them there later. Dot and Prentice do make it but, due to Stella's foul mouth, she has a harder time finding someone to give her a ride. Prentice doubles back and gets her. However, they get stopped at the border and Stella's big mouth (and the fact that they still have Dot's medication in the car) gets the two of them questioned and Prentice cavity searched. After this, the two of them are released and, despite Prentice's obvious anger at Stella, they pick up Dot together and head to Prentice's family's house.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: Once there, Prentice greets his mother, Cat - who claims to not really be dying (on that day at least). Dot uses their bathroom and then decides to lie down for a minute. She, unfortunately, ends up in bed with Cat's (very naked) husband and gets, uh... I think the correct phrase is tea-bagged. Dot runs out of the house to Stella and there is a (very naked) chase scene. 

Prentice offers to take his mother away from her mean husband, but she declines, saying he has no way to take care of her. So, Prentice leaves with Stella and Dot. They get their marriage licences and a time the next day to get married. Prentice takes them to a bar and gives them a very touching best-man speech.
The next day, Dot and Stella go to get married. However, Molly and her husband, Tommy, show up (Stella called her during a moment of doubt) and tries to stop the wedding. She gets called out on tricking her grandmother into signing away her assets and is arrested. They all go to the police station and Molly and Dot have a heart to heart.

Dot, Stella and Prentice are driving away when Dot starts to have a heart attack. She demands that Prentice marry her and Stella in the car. Molly and Tommy call an ambulance but Dottie passes quickly. Stella and Prentice talk about Dot and, at her funeral, Prentice does Dottie's favorite modern dance number.
Scenes To Watch Out For: When Stella breaks Dot out of the nursing home. Genius!

Stella's monologue praising the c-word.

Dot and Stella's marriage in the truck.

Prentice's modern dance number at Dot's funeral. Stella just laughs and laughs while everyone else considers if this is offensive or not.

Anything Else: This movie has a fantastic way of putting very sad situations in a funnier light. For example, Dot and Stella's truck-marriage and Dot's funeral sound very sad and, while it is, the way it's done is rather amusing. So, even when something so terrible is happening, we're able to see something a little on the brighter side. I think that's pretty amazing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

North Sea Texas (2011)

Directed By: Bavo Defurne

Starring: Jelle Florizoone, Mathais Vergels, Nin Marie Kortekaas

The Main Review: North Sea Texas is a 2011 Belgian film. It's actual title is Noordzee Texas but we're 'Murican here, so we'll use it's English name. It follows Pim as he's growing up, and his neighbors, Gino, Sabrina and their mother, Marcella.  It has some of the most beautiful cinematography and the acting is all solid. Of course, Pim and Gino have a relationship. And Pim has a gypsy named Zoltan staying in his house. And his mom plays the accordion!
I totally relate to this coming of age love story. Totally.

It begins with little Pim, who likes to get naked and put on his mother's tiara and sash from her beauty queen years. His mother finds him one day and while she doesn't seem mad, he runs off, crying. He's found by Marcella. He meets Gino and Sabrina, her children. Because the family is so accepting of him and kind, he makes sure to visit whenever he can from then on.

Years go by and Pim is obviously taken with Gino. He has a little box of collected things - which include his mother's tiara and sash as well as tokens from Gino. Gino and he have sex for the first time in a tent the day before Pim's fifteenth birthday. They continue to get it on in the wilderness once Gino gets his motorcycle.
However, it's discovered that Gino has a French girlfriend, Françoise. Pim is obviously distressed and it seems that he may have only been something in Gino's "experimental" years. However, Pim's promiscuous, semi-negligent mother takes in Zoltan as a boarder. Zoltan had been a previous boarder and seemed to come and go with the fun fair. Both Pim and his mother are clearly smitten with this guy. I mean, who doesn't love a man with a self-labeling arm tattoo?
 Here's Where It Gets Spoilerfic: Pim walks in on his mother and Zoltan gettin' busy and he runs away. When he comes home, the two of them are gone. He goes to live with Sabrina and Marcella (Gino moved away to live with Françoise). Marcella, however, is very ill and she has to be hospitalized. Before she passes, she shows Gino and Sabrina a photo of their father (whom they'd never seen) and make it clear that she's okay with Gino and Pim being together. 

After she dies, Pim and Sabrina straighten up both of their houses and get themselves on track. Gino shows up when Sabrina's out and tells Pim he wants to be with him. They kiss and the movie ends.

Scenes To Watch Out For: The scene with Little Pim walking around his mother's room, talking to his imaginary maid, Maria, and putting on the sash and tiara. Absolutely adorable.

When seventeen year old Gino just starts masturbating in front of Pim (and Pim follows suit). My friends don't just start touching themselves when there's a lull in conversation... Do my friends not like me?

When Gino and Pim have sex in the tent, it is one of the most beautiful scenes I've witnessed. The sound of their hushed love-making becomes one with the low rustling of the grass. 
When Marcella is in the hospital, Gino and Pim both take one of her hands. She moves and places the boys' hands together as a sign that she knows they have feelings for each other. It's very touching.

Anything Else: As I said, the cinematography is brilliant. I wish this movie all the luck in the world. I hope American audience can just accept subtitles for once... And homosexuality. But, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, I guess.

Jack and Diane (2012)

Directed by: Bradley Rust Gray

Starring: Juno Temple, Riley Keough, Kylie Minogue

The Main Review: Jack and Diane is a 2012 motion picture. At it's core, it's a love story about two girls, Jack and Diane, who meet in New York. Jack's a strong, hot, but sweetly awkward native New Yorker while Diane is a cute, British girl visiting her aunt. However, Diane's awakening sexual desires are bringing out the werewolf inside of her. So, it's a werewolf movie with lesbians. Doesn't that sound awesome?
It sounds so great, there is no way we could be completely and totally let down!

The first scene seems promising. Diane is in the bathroom when suddenly a big, gross-looking werewolf comes out of nowhere and attacks her. We cut to some weird letters made out of a hair braid and we are transported to an earlier time.

Diane is looking for her twin sister who was supposed to come by bus to visit. After it's apparent that she's not arriving, Diane roams the streets for a while, trying to get someone to lend her a cell phone. She walks into a shop and sees Jack. She promptly gets a nosebleed (the apparent first sign of werewolfism) and Jack takes her to a back room and let's Diane make a call. Jack then takes Diane to a club at which Diane gets sick and has another nosebleed. But, Jack and Diane make out, so that's good, I guess. I wonder when the werewolves are gonna show up...
So, Jack and Diane hang out some more. Jack gets hit by a taxi, but she ends up being fine. She just breaks a cassette tape. The two of them have awkward conversations about stuff and Jack tries to play Diane her favorite song - which happens to be a Yaz cover - but can't, due to the song being on the broken tape. Jack eventually finds out that Diane is leaving to go to a French fashion school a few days, so she decides to be a complete jerk. Man, it'd be really cool if there were some werewolves now. 

Jack is shown a porn video of a very drunk, college girl getting cummed on by some frat boys. The girl is Diane's twin and Jack rushes to tell Diane about it. She phones her sister who say's that she'll be fine and everything's alright and... That's the end of that. So, where are the werewolves?

Diane and Jack seem to be okay now. They almost have sex until Diane stops Jack, who leaves to go sleep on the couch. Jack wakes up and tires to find Diane. Diane finds her first and attacks her as a werewolf. She reaches into Jack's torn open chest and pulls out her heart. Back in human form, she beings to eat it as Jack dies. And, that's a cool way to end a film. I mean, it took forever to get to the werewolf part but I guess this is okay...

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: It was all a dream! Or, at least, the Diane turning into a werewolf and eating Jack's heart bit was... God dammit! When are the cool werewolves gonna show up!?

So, Jack and Diane hang out some more and are in gross, non-werewolf love or something. Ew. When Diane is about to leave, Jack helps her get some luggage out of a shed. The door shuts, trapping them in the dark. Using the flash on a disposable camera Jack gave her, Diane uses the brief light to try and find their way out. Of course, Jack (who got a nosebleed prior to this) turns into a werewolf and attacks Diane! Cool! Finally some werewolf violence!

Except, no! It ends with Jack giving Diane a hug! Ah, screw this! Where are the werewolves!? 

So.. Diane leaves for France and Jack sends her the "Only You" cover tape and she listens to it smiling. And then the movie ends.


Scenes To Watch Out For: Whenever Jack tries to say something meaningful... You know, to Diane... She, uh... She has a really... A really, really... Hard time... A hard time just saying... Anything...

Jack's on the phone with Diane's twin after Diane has been grounded and her twin is pretending to be her. Jack asks, after a moment and a shot of her fingertips dipping into the front of her shorts, "Are you touching yourself?" Just right out of the blue! No lead up to that... No "What are you wearing?" She just goes straight for it! Do people do that?

The porn video that has nothing to do with anything.

All of the times there weren't any werewolves in the film. Oh, wait! That was the entire damn movie!
Anything Else: Oh, yeah... I left out the weird animation. Yeah, periodically throughout the film there are shots of what I can only assume are supposed to be a human's internal organs and a strand of braided hair slithering around them... That's the best I can describe it. This movie was wack.

This was another film I saw at Damn These Heels! Out of the eight films I saw (and the eleven in total at the festival) this was the only one with distribution. Wow. Just... meditate on that for a while.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gayby (2012)

Directed by: Jonathan Lisecki

Starring: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkais, Mike Doyle

The Main Review: Gayby is a 2012 film that follows two best friends, Jenn and Matt, as they try to conceive. Jenn is a hot yoga teacher and Matt is a struggling comic book writer. Matt's still trying to get over his last boyfriend and Jenn is single by choice. So, remembering a promise they made to each other in college, they decide to have a kid together. The old fashioned way.
Yeah, that's gonna work out well and totally not be awkward.

Matt's moved to Brooklyn and works in a comic book store. He's desperately trying to avoid his ex-boyfriend, who doesn't seem as concerned with avoidance. Jenn teaches Bikram yoga and runs errands for her boss. So, after her sister tells her all about the baby she's adopting from Africa, Jenn goes to Matt to ask him to father her child. He says yes and, while he thinks it's weird for a gay man and a heterosexual woman to have sex, he agrees to trying the old fashioned way.

So, a week later, they get down to it. This ends up being awkward to say the least. Jenn decides that her apartment is too drab for creating a baby (the energy is all wrong), so she hires her boss' hot brother, Louis, to paint it. She moves in with Matt for a while and they get into a routine of having procreative sex, while both trying to get back into dating. They start to meet up with people online. However, at the comic store, Matt meets Scott, the very hot single daddy. And, can I just say that Scott kinda looks like a super hero in disguise. Just a little bit. I mean, look... He's got nerdy glasses... And that man-chest! Dayum.
Anyway, Jenn goes back to her apartment some night when Scott's over, to find Louis there. She and Louis have some crazy sex. She later finds out that he has a girlfriend. Jenn decides that she doesn't want to have sex with Matt anymore and they go for the turkey baster method (except, they use a cat medicine syringe supplied by Matt's bear friend Nelson (woof!)). Jenn finally conceives and it looks like Momma and Daddy are gonna have a baby!

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerfic: So, we find out that, when Louis and Jenn had sex, all of the condoms they used broke. So, there's a minor chance that he's the babydaddy. When she tells Matt this (on his birthday, no less), he flips. Matt won't talk to Jenn and Jenn spends a long, long time in bed not doing anything. Finally, her sister gets her up and going. Jenn buys into her hot yoga studio and she apologizes to Matt.

A year later, they have a beautiful baby girl! Jenn has hooked up with Neil, who works at the comic store with Matt. Scott is taking Matt out that night (and Jenn spills that he's going to ask Matt to marry him). Matt's doing well with a comic he wrote called "Gayby." At the end, Matt and Scott leave for their date and Jenn look at her little girl, remarking, "You look just like your daddy."

Scenes To Watch Out For: Nelson and Matt discussing the initialism LGBTQA and how ridiculously ong it is.

After Matt and Jenn's internet meet-ups, the hilarious exchange in the hallway.
The very "athletic" sex Jenn has with Louis. 

Anything Else: This was a really sweet, funny, if not a bit stereotypical (but in a nice way) film. Really, it's adorable. I hope it gets distribution soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012)

Directed by: Matthew Mishory

Starring: James Preston, Dan Glenn, Dalilah Rain

The Main Review: Joshua Tree, 1951, is a very recent film from this past year. Today, it premiered at multiple lgbt film festivals, including Damn These Heels! - where I had the opportunity to view it. Joshua Tree is a film supposed to follow part of the life of James Dean and his bisexuality. It's shot in black-and-white and very stylized. The actor who plays James Dean is gorgeous, of course. He is shown with a woman once in the film but seems to have a good amount of sex with other men.
Scratch that. He has a lot of sex with other men. 

The movie is nonlinear. The best I can piece together is that Dean and his unnamed actor roommate move in together and then Dean gets involved with Roger, the gay movie agent. At least, I'm pretty sure he's some sort of agent. James Dean has some fun-to-watch gay sex - if gay sex is your cup of tea - and seems to express at least mild interest in a few girls. Later on, Dean and his roommate go off into the desert, with Violet, who works for Roger.

Because of it's non-linearity, there are many flashbacks. We are shown the Roommate and Dean's acting classes at UCLA. Roger and Dean's relationship is sort of gone into. Also, The Little Prince seems to be very important and regarded as the most important literature a man can read.

Here's Where It Get Spoilerific: Honestly, this film doesn't really lend itself to spoilers. I mean, Dean is sleeping with his roommate (as well as every other able bodied man shown in this film, it seems, so it's not surprising). He's at least macking the calf with Violet, and it seems Roommate and Violet have something going on as well.

And, really, don't we all know how the story of James Dean ends? It really is a tale too short. 

Scenes To Watch Out For: Most of the scenes with the Roommate and James Dean - especially right before Dean goes off to New York. It's quite touching, really.
James Dean explaining "passive" and "aggressive" to a young man he met at the beach.

"I Fall In Love Too Easily" being sung in a nightclub.

Anything Else: I'll be completely honest - I know basically nothing about James Dean. I think I can name the movies he was in on a good day. So, I'm a little unsure about where and how often this film takes some artistic licence with what we actually know about James Dean. I - and the people who attended the film with me - were under the impression that James Dean was a little more heterosexual than what was presented in the film. As I said, though, I know very little about him.

Also, if you see this film and see something in my review is off, I'm sorry - but this film was kinda confusing! I don't know if it's just me, but I had a hard time following some of it. It was very... artistic.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cool World (1992)

Directed By: Ralph Bakshi

Starring: Gabriel Bryne, Kim Basinger, Brad Pitt

The Main Review: Cool World was a 1992 movie that was one of those half-live action half-cartoon films. The story follows Jack Deebs (Gabriel Bryne), the creator of a popular comic series, as he enters the Cool World - a land full of cartoon people or Doodles, which is incorrectly thinks he created. In the Cool World is Holli Would (Kim Basinger), the sexy, dancing Doodle who wants to be a real, human woman. And, it seems, that the way to accomplish this is to have sex with Jack.
Be sure to watch this one with your kids.

The story beings in 1945, Las Vegas, as Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) returns home from the war to his mother. He gets sent a motorcycle he won in Italy gambling and takes his mom for a ride. Unfortunately, they get hit by a drunk driver and his mother is killed. At the same time, Dr. Whiskers, a Doodle, is trying to make a gate between the Real World and the Cool World. He opens up to the vehicle collision and Frank gets pulled into the Cool World.

Moving forward to Vegas in the 1990s, we see that Jack Deebs is in prison. He's drawing a sketch of Holli Would and talking to her, saying that this will be his last day in prison. She quite suddenly, talks back to him, and tells him its time for him to join her. He gets flashed into the Cool World and, after see Holli dance for a while, gets teleported out again. Frank Harris has become a detective and is trying to keep Holli Would, and her obsession with being a "noid" or human, under wraps. He tells her to stay away from Jack. Holli mentions a legend in which a Doodle name Vegas Vinny crossed over to the Real World and, touching the Spike of Power on top of a casino, turned into a real human. 

Meanwhile, in the Real World, Jack is readjusting to the life of a free man. He goes to a comic book store, where he gets recognized as the author of the series Cool World, and gets some free comics. We learn that Jack went to jail for murdering a guy. 

Jack gets transported back to the Cool World and meets some more Doodles. Holli catches up with them and they go to a club. Frank was on a date with his Doodle girlfriend, Lonette, but his partner, Nails, tells him that Jack has crossed over again. Frank finds Holli and Jack and takes Jack's fountain pen, which is a dangerous weapon in the Cool World. He also tells Jack that he can, under no circumstances, have sex with Holli. From here, Lonette and Frank have a scene in which they both really wanna get it on with each other.

To make a long, crazy story much shorter, Jack Deebs totally has sex with Holli Would. There's an explosion and she turns into a human woman. They cross over in the Real World where they go to a party. She's entertaining everyone at the party with her hotness when she starts turning into a Doodle again. The weird thing is that Jack starts to turn into a Doodle as well. Holli Would steals Jack's car and goes to find Vegas Vinny and the Spike of Power.
Frank teleports into the Real World to find Jack and Holli. Frank, Jack, and Jack's neighbor, Jennifer, all go find Holli who discovers that Vegas Vinny is actualy Doc Whiskers, who is still a Doodle. She kills him with Jack's fountain pen (which she stole a while back) and starts to make her way up to the top of the casino and the Spike of Power. In her exit, though, she drops the fountain pen. Frank goes after her and Jennifer and Jack put Whiskers back together (because, you know, he's a cartoon and cartoons never die).

Holli keeps flickering in and out of Doodlehood and, at some point, pushes Frank off of a a ledge. He falls and dies. She makes it up to the Spike of Power and touches it.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerfic: The Spike turns her, Jack, and everyone else in Las Vegas into Doodles. Jack turns into a super hero and reverses her action, fixing everyone else and causes Holli and himself to enter into a comic book world. Doc Whiskers and Nails bring the dead Frank to Lonette. She cries of a while but, due to the fact that Holli was phasing in and out of being a Doodle when she pushed him, he doesn't die because when a Doodle kills a noid, the noid becomes a Doodle. Frank becomes a Doodle and he and Lonette have a great happily ever after.

Scenes To Watch Out For: Honestly, that first scene where Frank's mom is killed is really heart breaking. 

Whenever Holli is dancing, you should be watching. What a babe.

Anything Else: A lot of people really don't like Cool World and, while I get that's it's kind of a hokey movie, I think it's really enjoyable. I'm a little unsure why some people are so averse to it. Anyone have any insight into this?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Heroic Trio (1992)

Directed By: Jonnie To

Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung

The Main Review: The Heroic Trio was a 1993 Chinese action movie. It follows three super tough women - The Invisible Woman (Ching), Wonder Woman (Tung), and the Thief Catcher (Mercy) - as they try to stop The Evil Master from kidnapping more babies. Sounds wacky, right?
Yeah, and it just gets better.

The Invisible Woman has been stealing baby boys (whose birthdays all indicate that they will be emperors) for the Evil Master, who happens to be her kung-fu master guy (in fact, he's the teacher of all the Heroic Trio). Wonder Woman - whose secret identity places her as a police investigator's wife - has been trying to stop these heinous crimes. Mercy was commissioned by the police chief - who, himself, lost a child in this infant kidnapping spree - and ends up stealing a baby herself. She figures she can give him that baby and he won't know the difference. Of course, Tung cannot allow this. She and Mercy fight over the baby. The Invisible Woman shows up and joins in. Unfortunately, the baby is killed due to it falling during the battle.

We soon find out that the Ching's scientist husband is creating an invisibility cloak (which is weird, because it seems that the The Invisible Woman is already using one.) The Evil Master has given her orders to steal the cloak and then kill the scientist. There's this whole side thing about some lilies blooming, which seems very important to the two of them.

After some more weirdness and mildly hard-to-follow storyline, Mercy and Wonder Woman team up to save the babies. They've discovered that they're being held in an underground sewer fortress. Mercy tries to get the Invisible Woman on their side, however she refuses and they fight. We realize though, that the Ching is trying to get herself killed. Wonder Woman shows up to stop this from happening. Ching takes off on horseback, but is followed by Mercy and Tung. It appears that her intention is to jump off a cliff.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: Tung and Ching both go over the cliff, but Tung holds onto Ching so she won't fall. We then realize the two of them are sisters. So, they all team up to go stop the Evil Master. They, first, have to go to Ching's dying husband. They save him from Number 9 - a minion of the Evil Master. Ching says she'll stay behind with her husband, so Mercy and Tung leave. Due to the radiation he was exposed to while making the invisibility cloak, he dies in Ching's arms. There's more talk about blooming lilies. She leaves him to go help the other women.
From there, the Heroic Trio go to save babies. They fight the Evil Master and he seems to have them beaten. So, they decide to throw dynamite down into the sewer to blow him up. You know, despite the fact that he's keeping all the babies down there.

While they're all celebrating, he shows up again. Except, he's a grody skeleton monster. So, they have to fight his super strong "essence." He latches onto Ching and uses her body to beat up the other two. Ching decides the only thing to do is sacrifice herself so he'll be destroyed and she jumps off a building. All of the positive memories she thinks of as she's falling makes the Evil Master's brain explode. Tung catches her and everything's okay. The babies somehow managed to survive the blast and all is restored to it's normal order.

Scenes To Watch Out For: When Number 9 starts killing people. He has the coolest decapitation gizmo.

When the creepy Evil Master's essence monster appears. It's really, really gross.

Anything Else: This movie is crazy. The plot seems a little loose, to say the least. Weird stuff just keeps happening. However, it's one of those bad movies that's really fun to watch.