The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot (Gus Van Sant, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/10/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix, obviously
Rewatch: No.


I thought this was a very solid movie overall. Phoenix was, of course, excellent as the embittered alcoholic who must struggle with losing his ability to walk and find the road to recovery from both his physical and psychological traumas. Jonah Hill did a good job too as Phoenix's somewhat eccentric AA sponsor and mentor. Jack Black was obnoxious, but fit his character well enough.

I know next to nothing of the real John Callahan and can't attest to the accuracy of the film, but I thought the story this told was really sweet and enjoyable. It is not without flaws, however. In particular, I found the scene where he has a conversation with his "mother" to be awkwardly done and it took me out of the movie for a bit. Still an entertaining watch with fine performances, but nothing that sticks out as particularly great.

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/31/18
Cinema or Home: Cinema, with Funny Face
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix, obviously
Rewatch: No.


It's been just over a week since I watched this and I've been struggling to figure out what I want to say about it. There were definitely things that I liked: The performances, cinematography, and score were all solid. The trouble is they weren't memorable. Like, at all. Joaquin Phoenix played a mentally unstable man - not exactly a stretch - and his was one of several characters that felt underdeveloped. Actually the only character that felt at all real to me was John C. Reilly as Eli Sisters - who showed us the humane side of the hired killer. The film was also dragged down by slow pacing and I struggled to stay engaged.

All that said, I do have to acknowledge that my difficulty with The Sisters Brothers is not entirely the fault of the film. The other patrons of the theater were being rather loud and disruptive and I'm not sure how much that affected my overall experience. I'll have to give the film another shot once it's out on blu-ray, but for now I'm rather underwhelmed.

+



Oldboy 2: Youngman
The other patrons of the theater were being rather loud and disruptive and I'm not sure how much that affected my overall experience.
Ugh, I know this all too well. A lot of loud a**holes can really ruin a theater-going experience.





Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/12/18
Cinema or Home: At work on the portable DVD player
Reason For Watching: It came up in a conversation at work and I felt like watching it again.
Rewatch: Yes, many times over.


I've seen this movie numerous times over the last 30+ years and it was a favorite of my childhood, but it had been several years since the last time I'd watched it. I'd forgotten just how funny this movie is. Wikipedia calls it a horror comedy - and certainly there are horror elements - but scares and gore definitely take a back seat to the laughs. Everything is just so manic and over the top. I found myself cracking up several times, which is a rarity for me.

And with all the devastation and tragedy going on in my state right now, this was a much needed piece of pure entertainment.

+





Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/27/18
Cinema or Home: Home, with filmmaker commentary track
Reason For Watching: I am a stubborn bitch who must always be right
Rewatch: Yes, many times over.


*SPOILERS*

With all the drama surrounding the upcoming MoFo Horror Countdown, I gave Gremlins yet another look. When I watched it about two weeks ago, I was mostly amazed at how funny I still found it to be after having not seen it in many years, but I was also surprised by the amount of violence and gore it contains.

In tonight’s rewatch, I paid closer attention to those darker aspects and now I am absolutely sure that Gremlins is horror. It’s “sanitized horror,” as Captain Spaulding put it, but still very much deserving of the horror classification. I forget which of the filmmakers in the DVD commentary track said it, but one of them described the film as “It’s a Wonderful Life meets The Birds.” I think that’s pretty accurate. Only instead of an avian attack, we get a horde of demonic looking creatures (not toys, as Nostromo would have you believe) that do things like rig a stair lift to eject an elderly lady through a glass window and catapult her to her death, take revenge on a science teacher by killing him with a hypodermic needle, jump out of a Christmas tree and choke a woman, chew through the brake lines of the sheriff’s car, and drive a snow plough straight through a man’s house. In the battle of gremlins vs humans, we also see a gremlin get exploded in the microwave and another ground to bits and splattered everywhere when it gets caught in a juicer. And then, of course, there’s the gruesome demise of Stripe, the leader of the gremlins, who melts into a bubbling, moving puddle of sickening greenish goo.



The movie is certainly a comedy, too, especially in its earlier scenes. It’s funny as hell, but in a very dark way and the farther along we get in the film, the more balanced the horror and comedic elements become, with the comedy taking a back seat to the horror in many scenes – often to a much higher degree than a lot of what is found in many of the more widely acknowledged horror comedies. If any of you in the “Gremlins is not horror” camp are reading this, I urge you to watch it again and reconsider.

+





Surf's Up (Ash Brannan and Chris Buck, 2007)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/27/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: It's one of my favorite movies
Rewatch: Yes, many times over.


There was much grumbling when this sneaked its way onto The MoFo Top 100 Animated Films Countdown at #99, but I don't understand why. Sure, it doesn't reach the emotional peaks that something of Pixar's caliber would, but the animation is beautiful, the story is good, and it's really funny.

I have to wonder if the issue there is that people are prejudiced against it because of the mediocrity that was Happy Feet. I skipped its theatrical run myself because I thought that the premise of surfing penguins was stupid, but I'm glad I went back and blind bought the DVD. The only real similarity between the two films is that both have protagonist penguins that don't fit in with their society and Surf's Up actually pokes fun at the inevitable comparison.

As I said, it doesn't reach the emotional depth of some of other animated films, but its mockumentary style, amusing characters, and great voice cast (including Jeff Bridges as what is basically The Dude as a surfing penguin instead of a bowling human) never fail to make me laugh and put me in a good mood. I adore this film.

+

P.S. I also watched The Chubbchubbs and The Chubbchubbs Save Christmas, the two shorts that are included on the Surf's Up DVD. I don't feel like giving them a proper write-up, but suffice it to say that I didn't like either of them.





Ralph Breaks the Internet (Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/28/18
Cinema or Home: Cinema
Reason For Watching: It's the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph
Rewatch: No.


Besides the wonderful sight gags and references to video game culture, the thing that made the original Wreck-It Ralph great was its core story of friendship and self-sacrifice. In this sequel, the filmmakers tried to recapture that - swapping video game culture for internet culture - and their attempt was admirable.

Where in the first film, we see Ralph and Vanellope meet and form their friendship, here we see Ralph struggling to cope with Vanellope's desire to see new things and find new thrills - and new friends. In an act of jealousy and fear, Ralph sabotages her dream. He becomes the sort of bad guy he never wanted to be, but it's a very human and relatable act. Ultimately, he must learn to sacrifice his own wants so that he doesn't stand in the way of her dreams and he has to learn to forge other friendships. It's a different kind of self-sacrifice than the one he made in the first film, but still an important one.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is an effective and moving film, but it doesn't quite reach the greatness of the original. The sight gags lack nostalgia and don't create the same feeling as before (not that I'm calling for a retread of the Wreck-It Ralph) and while I did get teary eyed a time or two, it didn't quite have that emotional punch that I had hoped for. Still, as sequels go this is one of the better ones and fans of the original should definitely check it out.






Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante, 1990)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/29/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Upcoming MoFo Horror list redux
Rewatch: Yes.


Gremlins 2: The New Batch is less a sequel to the 1984 hit and much more a parody of it. This could be a great thing if it were pulled off well, but unfortunately I don't think it was.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a bad film, I also didn't think anything about it really worked very well. The humor has been taken far too much to a cartoonish extreme and has lost much of the dark edge that worked so well before. And somehow - despite the bigger budget and advancements in special effects - the gremlins themselves seem far more artificial and less believable than their cruder predecessors. Even Gizmo, despite much greater articulation than he previously had, has lost much of his cuteness and is actually kind of creepy.

In the DVD commentary of the original Gremlins, one of the filmmakers likened that film to "a weird Muppet movie." I disagree with the comparison there, but I do think it applies very much to The New Batch - right down to the musical number and the she-gremlin that might as well have been a redesigned Miss Piggy. Ultimately, what was designed to elicit laughs got from me only eye rolls.

That said, I was nine years old when this film was released and I loved it back then - stupid Hulk Hogan cameo and all - so I can't honestly say that it's completely ineffective. However, looking at it now, it just seems like Joe Dante and company tried way too hard to cram way too much into this and just ended up making a mess of it.




28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds


Ralph Breaks the Internet (Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/28/18
Cinema or Home: Cinema
Reason For Watching: It's the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph
Rewatch: No.


Besides the wonderful sight gags and references to video game culture, the thing that made the original Wreck-It Ralph great was its core story of friendship and self-sacrifice. In this sequel, the filmmakers tried to recapture that - swapping video game culture for internet culture - and their attempt was admirable.

Where in the first film, we see Ralph and Vanellope meet and form their friendship, here we see Ralph struggling to cope with Vanellope's desire to see new things and find new thrills - and new friends. In an act of jealousy and fear, Ralph sabotages her dream. He becomes the sort of bad guy he never wanted to be, but it's a very human and relatable act. Ultimately, he must learn to sacrifice his own wants so that he doesn't stand in the way of her dreams and he has to learn to forge other friendships. It's a different kind of self-sacrifice than the one he made in the first film, but still an important one.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is an effective and moving film, but it doesn't quite reach the greatness of the original. The sight gags lack nostalgia and don't create the same feeling as before (not that I'm calling for a retread of the Wreck-It Ralph) and while I did get teary eyed a time or two, it didn't quite have that emotional punch that I had hoped for. Still, as sequels go this is one of the better ones and fans of the original should definitely check it out.

I know Break the Internet is a term, but this should have been called Ralph Wrecks The Internet.
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Shame your Gremlins love doesn't continue over to the sequel. Mine certainly does. I think it's a terrifically fun, clever, inventive little film and very underrated



I haven't watched either in forever (like most films I've seen) but it's the silliness of the second which endeared it to me back then. There again, I don't consider either a horror film, so I didn't have that aspect to lose, which I can see would make an impact. The way I saw it, it was simply ramped up in the second to Loony Toons levels.
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



I haven't watched either in forever (like most films I've seen) but it's the silliness of the second which endeared it to me back then.
The silliness worked for me when I was younger, but it just doesn't now.

There again, I don't consider either a horror film, so I didn't have that aspect to lose, which I can see would make an impact.
I never thought of Gremlins in terms of horror until very recently, but I think that says more about me than it does about the film. I don't like horror, so I don't watch movies for their horror elements and never really think of them that way - but they're still horror movies.

The movies that do immediately come to mind when I read or hear the word "horror" are movies that I either have seen and don't like or have no interest in watching.



You've done a good job of championing Gremlins as a horror film. Pretty sure it's going to finish higher on the countdown now after all the attention you've drawn to it. I re-watched it last year near Christmas. I hadn't seen it since I was probably like 8 years old and was surprised by how well I remembered most of it. Don't think I've ever seen the sequel, though. That .GIF you used is an obvious reference to Busby Berkeley, the master choreographer behind several great 30's musicals. Those are the type of references that would've gone over my head as a kid. I might check out The New Batch for Christmas this year and see if it conjures any old memories.

Before promptly deleting his account (), Sexy Celebrity created a Letterboxd account and sang the praises of Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. I never know what to expect from director Gus Van Sant. He's made some great movies and some terrible ones. Admittedly, I wasn't too interested in this newest film from him, but after hearing positive things lately I might add it to my DVD queue. I like all the main people in the cast, at least.

Glad to see that Ralphs Breaks the Internet didn't disappoint, even if it's not as good as the first.
__________________



You've done a good job of championing Gremlins as a horror film. Pretty sure it's going to finish higher on the countdown now after all the attention you've drawn to it.
I hope you're right. I won't be voting for the The New Batch (despite the temptation to do so just to annoy Nostro) but the original will probably rank very high on my ballot. Possibly even top 3.

That .GIF you used is an obvious reference to Busby Berkeley, the master choreographer behind several great 30's musicals. Those are the type of references that would've gone over my head as a kid. I might check out The New Batch for Christmas this year and see if it conjures any old memories.
I vaguely recall that scene and the Berkeley reference being discussed on the forum - I think honeykid and I actually did a commentary on Gremlins 2 a few years back and it came up then - but I've never actually seen a Busby Berkeley musical. I went through a pretty bad movie watching slump during the voting phase for the 30s countdown so I never explored the decade and couldn't vote.

I doubt I would've watched any of Berkeley's films though, I tend to avoid any live-action musical that isn't Hedwig and the Angy Inch.

Before promptly deleting his account (), Sexy Celebrity created a Letterboxd account and sang the praises of Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. I never know what to expect from director Gus Van Sant. He's made some great movies and some terrible ones.
I had to look at Van Sant's IMDb page - Besides Don't Worry, I've only seen Milk (love it), To Die For (like it) and Good Will Hunting (didn't care for it). I've heard terrible things about the shot-for-shot Psycho remake (though I still kind of want to see it because I like Vince Vaughn) but haven't heard much about the rest. Anything I should definitely avoid?





An American Crime (Tommy O'Haver, 2007)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/04/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I was bored and it qualifies for the upcoming MoFo Horror list redux
Rewatch: No.


I stumbled across this while browsing Amazon Prime's selection of streaming titles. I don't think I'd ever heard of it before, but decided to give it a go because it had a strong cast, was rated highly on IMDb, and has the horror tag that qualifies it for the upcoming countdown.

An American Crime tells the story of Sylvia Likens, a 16 year old girl who was held captive, tortured, and starved for three months before ultimately being murdered by the woman that her parents had hired to look after her and her sister.

The thing that really stood out about this film was the performance of Catherine Keener as the woman who took the girl's life. Ellen Page does a fine job as Likens, but it's Keener I couldn't look away from. She is the perfect monster: A church-going single mother of six, who puts on a facade of virtue while turning her own self-loathing and misogynistic wrath against her helpless victim. But she is not alone in her crimes: she turns her own children and other children of the neighborhood against Likens and they relish in enacting their own tortures against her.

The images on the screen were disturbing and left me feeling a vague ill feeling in my gut. But those images are where I have some mixed feelings about the film and must ask did it show enough? I knew nothing of this case before watching this, but a little bit of research on it reveals that the film hardly scratches the surface of what Likens actually suffered. I'm not saying that the movie should've crossed the line into torture porn, but I can't deny that I felt more horrified reading the details of the case than I did watching this. It's certainly highly effective as a crime drama but it'll take more time, thought, and movie watching before I can decide if it'll get my vote for the Horror list. Still very much a recommended watch.

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Oldboy 2: Youngman
If you thought that one was disturbing, don't watch The Girl Next Door (2007). It's based on the same story but is a lot more disturbing, as I remember. Though the one you watched is technically better.



If you thought that one was disturbing, don't watch The Girl Next Door (2007). It's based on the same story but is a lot more disturbing, as I remember. Though the one you watched is technically better.
In this context, disturbing is a positive thing. I read about The Girl Next Door when I was looking up information about Sylvia's murder. I may check it out sometime before the deadline.