Sexy Cineplexy: Reviews

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Welcome to the human race...
Even though I stuck this on the tail end of my "bottom 100", I still reckon it's somewhat watchable and could probably use another viewing.

River's Edge
(directed by Tim Hunter, 1986)

Yet another 1986 film starring Dennis Hopper. This time with Keanu Reeves, in what I believe is one of his first starring roles. He's only 21-22 here. Damn, I didn't realize Keanu was already that old -- did you know Keanu was pushing 50? I didn't. Poor Keanu.

I wouldn't call this movie a black comedy, but there's something about the film that is ridiculously funny -- it's the actors and the characters they're portraying. Notably Crispin Glover (Back to the Future's George McFly) and the little kid playing Keanu's brother (Joshua John Miller, who I recognized from one of my old 1980's faves, Teen Witch). These characters - especially Crispin Glover - overact. But it's wonderful.

River's Edge deals with psychos -- one old (Dennis Hopper) and one young -- Daniel Roebuck as John Tollet, who strangles a teenage girlfriend then goes to his friends and brags about it. He leaves her body in a field by the river -- he takes his friends over to show the body to them. It's kinda like Stand By Me minus the whole adventure trip through the woods. This is a gloomy, depressing look at wasted youth, dysfunctional families and broken homes -- but it's never so gloomy that you wanna turn it off. River's Edge is clearly a movie and is meant to entertain. I was intrigued and fascinated and glued to my seat as I witnessed what these teenagers were going through in their little small town where not much happens except everyone drinks beers and smokes pot.

Dennis Hopper plays Feck, a crazy motorcycle rebel from the 1960's who lives by himself in a shack, deep in paranoia -- seems he apparently shot an old girlfriend many years ago and is now in hiding. For company, he keeps a blowup doll named Ellie, whom he dances with and probably does more things to. The movie seems to be comparing the 1960's "Care About Everything" with the 1980's "Don't Give A *****" cultures -- there's a teacher at the high school who talks about it in two scenes. Doesn't surprise me that Dennis Hopper was attracted to material like this -- Easy Rider is referenced in this movie and Dennis explored the theme again in another movie I recently watched and loved, Flashback.

But River's Edge is a good time despite the dark theme. I was a little let down by the bland ending, but at least it was hopeful. It is a movie I will revisit and hell, maybe even add to my next Top 100 list. See it for unintentional (or intentional?) comedy, an intriguing story and Keanu Reeves.

The Cider House Rules
(directed by Lasse Hallstrom, 1999)

1999 really was the year for great movies -- and I've been missing out because I just now saw all of The Cider House Rules for the very first time. I had seen up till when Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) leaves the orphanage with Charlize Theron and Paul Rudd, but never went beyond that. Strange, I know, because I love Tobey Maguire. I had no idea I was missing out on a hot sex scene between him and Charlize Theron, which disappointed me because you can see her completely naked, but not him. And he wore some really sexy pants, too, when he was apple pickin'. He looked damn good. We see her unzip him, but it doesn't really go any further than that -- remember, folks, the camera does not like sex with the clothes on. But I really loved The Cider House Rules -- I don't know if it would have been the kind of movie I'd be into back in 1999, but I see that it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year, and I've gotta say... this film's better than American Beauty. There, I've said it. Why didn't this movie win? Did American Beauty keep me away from The Cider House Rules? I mean, you might say it's my fault for not checking out the film then, but to tell you the truth, I don't blame myself. I was overwhelmed by American Beauty. America was overwhelmed. Now, look, I don't really feel all that bad, but it does hurt a little -- it's a tragedy that American Beauty stole my attention away from this film.

Maybe it's not just American Beauty's fault, though. Fight Club came out in 1999 as well. So did a bunch of other stuff.

Oh, well. The Cider House Rules tells the story of an orphan named Homer Wells who was raised by a 1940's obstetrician played by Michael Caine. He grows up and gets tightly looked after and cared for by this doctor, who trains him to be a doctor, as well. They live in Maine in this big orphanage with lots of kids. Anyway, the movie takes place once Homer has grown up and become the sexy Tobey Maguire. Now, all these orphans that live with Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine want to be adopted, which means they'd leave the orphanage. I wouldn't give a damn about getting adoptive parents if I lived in a home with Tobey Maguire -- that'd be my daddy right there. Him and Michael Caine. At least they showed one girl who had the hots for Tobey and she didn't seem too concerned about getting adopted, either -- she has a good head on her shoulders.

Anyway, for a little while, we're watching Tobey be miserable while living at this orphanage. Despite all the training he's been given, he doesn't have the spirit to be a doctor. It's not him. So, when Charlize and Paul Rudd show up one day at the orphanage -- they're a married couple and, uh oh, she got pregnant - time to have an abortion -- Tobey decides right then and there to leave the place. He's going back with them and getting out of the orphanage. This, of course, greatly upsets Michael Caine, along with the orphans and the nurses. But, oh, well. Tobey needs a new atmosphere.

Tobey, Charlize and Paul take off for an apple orchard and Tobey finds happiness being an apple picker. He gets a little culture when he starts working among black and hispanic people (sorry, but it's true - everyone at the orphanage was white) and he does a lot of new stuff for the first time, such as seeing the ocean and going to a drive-in movie. Paul Rudd takes off for the war and because Charlize's character is such a needy bimbo, she ends up sleeping with Tobey (can't blame her, but could kill her -- he's mine.)

I feel like I'm already revealing too much about the movie, but then again, I'm not. Let's just say that a big, incestuous plot development occurs, which came totally out of nowhere, yet it also totally works. But that's not what really matters in this movie. The Cider House Rules, which is based on a John Irving novel, is a beautiful coming-of-age story about finding your own place in the world, living by your own rules, making mistakes, finding joy and happiness in the world, discovering who your family is, coming to terms with things, doing what's right - and what's right for you. It's about men and princes and kings and being strong even when you're in a situation that is supposed to make you feel weak. It's about the joys of sex and the dangers of it. It's life and death and family and friends and doctors and nurses and kids and adults and truths and lies and bravery and weakness. The film is almost too sickeningly perfect but when you've got Tobey Maguire in your movie, too perfect is ALLOWED.

Goodnight, MoFos.

Dark Victory
(directed by Edmund Goulding, 1939)

Not totally in love with this movie, but it has a timeless quality to it and the ending was especially intense as what the whole story was leading up to finally comes to pass -- Bette Davis, playing terminally ill Judy, dramatically and literally goes to her deathbed. Released in 1939, this is what the emos of that time period must have gone to see instead of the happier, giddier The Wizard of Oz.

Bette Davis plays rich socialite and horse lover, Judy, whose friend Ann (or is Ann more like an assistant? I'm not sure - still, a friend) calls for a doctor for Judy one day because Judy has been having some physical problems going on - which she's ignoring and pretending that they aren't serious. The doctor, played by the studly George Brent, examines her and discovers many things wrong with her. They do an operation on Judy's brain -- oh, no, they're gonna have to shave off some of her hair -- but the prognosis isn't good. The prognosis is NEGATIVE. Judy's gonna die in about ten months....

But never tell Judy. That's what her doctor demands. If she knew she was going to die, she wouldn't spend the rest of her time on Earth happy.

So, Judy gets out of the hospital and throws a big party to celebrate her life and thank her doctor for giving her life back to her. She has no idea. Meanwhile, a romance has developed between Judy and her doctor -- Lord knows why. MEN!!! Why get heavily involved with someone if you know they're going to the bone yard before the end of the year? This doctor ends up marrying Judy!

Humphrey Bogart is also in the film, as well as Ronald Reagan, though I didn't recognize him. Humphrey plays another horse lover that also admires Judy -- wasn't too crazy about his role in the film. I dunno -- personally -- I think Humphrey Bogart is very attractive, but he lacks a sort of charisma with me. In everything that I've seen with him so far, I think he's a good looking man, but there's not much energy. Some actors steal my attention away from everything else -- Humphrey cannot do that with me. He seemed like he had a better chance in this film, but I don't think he's a good match with Bette Davis. Bette, I feel, amuses me sometimes, but she's very rattly and nerve jangly. She seems incomplete, volatile -- earthquake-ish. However, she works in this kind of movie and I found that other elements of the movie only bogged it down and almost killed it for me -- the character of Ann, in particular, played by Geraldine Fitzgerald, was strikingly unnecessary and boring and didn't have the right energy. She could have been eliminated.

I enjoyed this film mainly for its subject matter -- the woman who ignores science and her own mortality, trying to make the best out of life by having fun and spending money, and having to come to terms with it all and proving she's capable of taking on the biggest hurdle of them all - eternal rest, the shutting down of all the excitement. It could easily be remade today, although I imagine it might be done terribly and take the darkness of the material to an extreme cheapness. But despite that possibility, I think Dark Victory is mostly a good film recommendation to anybody living today.

The People's Republic of Clogher
Those bloody WWII Emos, they didn't deserve a film like this! When Peter Lorre grew his hair and formed a band called Panic! At The Gentleman's Excuse Me it was the final straw.
"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how the Tatty 100 is done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan

The music videos don’t seem like they need much concentration, while full TV shows are something you need to get lost in and focus on. They’re not something to zone out to — but when Beavis watches a music video featuring fire, he’s like “OOOOOHHH! FIRE! FIRE! If words were in front of fire all the time, I’d read more.”
I've not seen this (can't wait though, as I was/am a big B&B fan) but I think you may be missing the point. Zoning out in front of the tv is what shows are for. They're moving wallpaper for the masses, who's only purpose is to sell whatever's advertised in the breaks. Or, maybe, it's because B&B can't concentrate for long periods of time. They're the children of MTV and, as we've been told for the last 15-20 years, the 'MTV Generation' don't have an attention span. That's why Michael Bay films do so well.

BTW, if you want people who rip modern tv apart, watch my on tv alter ego.

*NSFW for language*

The news


OK, so this isn't real, but it's true.

The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring

(directed by Peter Jackson, 2001)

I had never seen one of these Lord of the Rings movies all the way through until now. I'm very surprised that I was able to sit through the first one for the entire three hours without taking a break (although I did pause it twice.) I've tried to watch it in the past but could not get past the very beginning - with all the Hobbits in their Hobbit town, celebrating Bilbo Baggins' birthday. It never appealed to me. However, almost a decade has passed and now I can finally say... I'm ready for it.

The fact that these movies are now on Blu-ray helped, but I have to say -- I've had the Blu-rays of these movies for a year now, exactly, and I never watched one till yesterday. The Fellowship of the Ring was very beautiful. The images and the colors all created a warm, happy atmosphere, even during the film's darker moments. Nothing ever got depressingly dull or drab. I still don't particularly love the Hobbits in their little town and I think Gandalf is kinda creepy and I think Frodo is too annoyingly effeminate, but other than that, The Fellowship of the Ring worked for me. At least Frodo has Sean Astin for a boyfriend, who I think is cute. I also thought Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) was sexy, but I'm not completely crazy about him like some people have seemed to be.

Basically, the story, for those of you who don't know, concerns a group of people (the Fellowship of the Ring) who set off to destroy a very powerful ring that ended up in the hands of young hobbit, Frodo (Elijah Wood). As they stroll through the forests and other dangerous mountains, he is stalked and chased by ghouls and monsters and evil beings that want to kill him -- or, at least, do whatever they can to collect the ring from him. For the ring, you see, has an evil master, whose spirit still exists and still longs to have his ring back -- he lost it thousands of years ago in a war.

The Fellowship of the Ring was pretty interesting and captivating for the first half of the movie... the second half, however, lost power. This is a three hour movie -- and, heavens, there's actually an extended version that lasts four hours. I think some scenes in this three hour film are kinda unnecessary (for instance, when Frodo meets Galadriel in Lothlorien) and there are bunches of moments near the end where I was like, What's happening? I'm ready for this to end now. When it did end, I was like, eh. There's not much going on here. I also think many of the characters aren't really that fleshed out. People sort of move about like action figures.

But there's resonance and deep emotion, here. Profound wisdom and life lessons. I don't really know what else to say except that I look forward to watching The Two Towers and The Return of the King and finally being able to say, "I have seen The Lord of the Rings movies. Yes."

Nine hours for the whole thing, if you don't do the extended cuts. Six more hours to go. That's like watching six one hour TV shows. Doable. That's what I keep telling myself... pretend it's a miniseries... pretend it's a miniseries. You can get through this. You can. You must. You will.

(directed by Mike Mills, 2005)

First of all: Marvelous performances. One of the best ensemble casts I think I have ever seen. Vincent D'Onofrio, Lou Pucci, Vince Vaughn, Tilda Swinton, Keanu Reeves, Benjamin Bratt, Kelli Garner and all of the other minor characters that come and go. Thumbsucker had the right actors and they all performed exceptionally good.

The movie deals with a 17 year old guy named Justin Cobb (Lou Pucci), who sucks his thumb, but the fact that he sucks his thumb does not take up much of the movie. Thumbsucker is a deep examination and an unfolding mystery of all the various components that make up Justin's life. At times, I wasn't really sure if the movie was on track -- it felt like a washing machine spinning wildly out of control -- but the results were clean clothes, brighter colors and overall satisfaction.

The film begins with Justin as a solemn, morose, introverted and pathetic creature. We see how dysfunctional his family is, particularly his mother, played by Tilda Swinton. He calls his parents by their first names -- because "mom" and "dad" makes them feel old. His mother takes him into a dressing room while she's trying on dresses -- trying to find the right outfit for a picture to send to an actor she has a crush on (played by Benjamin Bratt) as part of a contest where the winner gets to go on a date with him -- yeah, and she's still married. His father cannot stand the fact that he sucks his thumb, so he writes his initials on his son's thumb to make him stop -- I'm still not sure what it's supposed to do, but I think the point is that it's just his technique. This causes embarrassment when he spends a day with a girl -- the first girl he's been close to -- who inquires about the letters on his thumb (he won't tell her what it means.)

We also meet his debate teacher, played by Vince Vaughn -- and oh my god, I thought Vince Vaughn was sexy as hell as this character. Justin isn't doing well at all in this class, but in the middle part of the movie, he finally gets some ADHD medication which brings him out of his shell and gets him to start speaking up and talking a mile a minute, leading him to become a golden boy of the class. There's also his orthodontist, played by Keanu Reeves, who does a guided meditation on Justin to get him in touch with his power animal (for some reason, this guided meditation also worked on me and I thought of the Caddyshack gopher.)

Now I really want a guided meditation CD with Keanu Reeves as the speaker.

There's not much else I desire to say about the movie except that I enjoyed it a lot and I thought it was one-of-a-kind, happy and fascinating. This is, however, one of those movies where they play songs way too much -- modern, happy hippie music. There was one scene with a montage of events that felt like a mini-music video and it almost lost me. I also wasn't too crazy about the very ending of the movie -- it's one of those silly endings I've seen before where someone is running around in the streets, free and full of joy. But, at its best, everything seemed to come together at the end, at least. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse. I must say, though, that I'm also a little disappointed with what happened to Keanu Reeves' character -- he sort of meets a sad, dead-ish fate that doesn't seem very realistic. He does almost a complete 180 and it just felt forced and extreme. This is not Keanu's fault, though -- he makes what he has work -- very well, actually. Just could have been better.

And again, Vince Vaughn is beyond cute as the teacher.

I give this movie...

I bought this when it came out and, tbh, I barely remember anything about it. I have that kind of "well made, but not really that enjoyable" feeling about it now.

Less than Zero
(directed by Marek Kanievska, 1987)

This is one of those movies that is so bad I refused to shut it off (even though I wanted to) just because I imagined that writing the review for it would be fun. To be honest, Less than Zero wasn't a total failure -- it picked up IN THE LAST THIRTY MINUTES but everything before then was just a pain inducing mess. I literally felt the pain of watching this movie in my bones. Watching this movie is like getting cancer, but being cured of it, because it's terrible and painful in the beginning, but you survive it, and you walk away feeling pretty good.

Robert Downey Jr., Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz play high school friends who meet up, I think it was, six months after their graduation. Andrew McCarthy has gone to college on the east coast, but Jami Gertz and Robert Downey Jr. are doing nothing but taking drugs and modeling (well, Jami Gertz is.) Robert Downey Jr.'s character, Julian, has been getting drugs from his evil friend played by James Spader, who now wants $50,000 from him. All of these characters are very rich and Julian can easily get $50,000 from his father, or from Andrew McCarthy's father, but Julian comes from a dysfunctional family and it isn't easy. At least, I thought the family was dysfunctional -- later it's revealed that his dad just wants him to stop taking drugs -- but it still looks dysfunctional. His dad won't let his son crash for the night at his house.

Jami Gertz... I thought I had never heard of her before, but it turns out she played Star in The Lost Boys... I thought she was awful in Less than Zero as Blair. One of the most annoying characters ever. Bad delivery, obnoxious traits, poofy hair. She's also Andrew McCarthy's girlfriend in the film and he could do much better than her. Actually, I never thought Andrew McCarthy was hot before until I watched this movie. I could have understood him being hooked up with someone like her, but damn, Andrew McCarthy's appearance was the best thing going for Less than Zero. He even shows his ass very early in the film. I wanted to squeeze it (annoyingly, there's a closeup of that Jami Gertz doing it later.)

Robert Downey Jr. was good in this - but it took him a long time to get interesting. They don't really deal with the subject of him being a drug addict all that well until late in the movie. It almost feels like an afterthought -- like during the last thirty minutes, they suddenly realized they were actually a movie and they needed to tell a story. You could literally watch the last half hour of this movie and understand everything without needing to watch what came before it. Most of the time, Less than Zero focuses on the party scenes and the environments of the settings the scenes take place in. The film has great atmosphere, great set design, wonderful cinematography... but it's an explosion of superficiality. I'm not against any of this, but the script is like an orange that was barely squeezed (kinda like Andrew McCarthy's ass.) A lot of scenes take place in clubs with lots of televisions sitting everywhere. Woooooooo! TV's! Very 1980's! TECHNOLOGY! Let's dance! Dancing, drugging, music and Andrew McCarthy walking around aimlessly, smiling at everybody. Seriously -- these characters don't do much during the first half of the movie. It's as if Less than Zero, the movie, is on drugs.

But Robert Downey Jr. has always been an intriguing character and without his presence in the film, it would have been a total dud. Considering how in real life, he was (or is?) a notorious drug addict, Less than Zero seems hauntingly real... although, I have no idea if Robert Downey Jr. himself ever had to give guys blowjobs in order to pay for his drug habit. It was very sad to his character in Less than Zero have to do that... but it woke me up, at least. It drugged me.

Say No to Less than Zero.

I wanted to give this movie zero stars because it's called Less than Zero, but that wouldn't be entirely accurate. However, two stars is being pretty nice. I can be nice, however.

You guys ready to let the dogs out?
I take it you saw the film, too?
I haven't actually, but from critic reviews and after reading your views on it, I don't know if I really want to. American Psycho was a brilliant adaptation of an Easton Ellis novel but Rules of Attraction and especially The Informers didn't quite cut it as films. Don't know if I want to watch yet another one of his novels get ruined.

Chappie doesn't like the real world
You should see it anyway - if you loved the book. I never read the book, but, just because myself and others didn't like the movie doesn't mean it won't connect with you. Roger Ebert gave it a perfect score - 4 stars. I have often agreed with him.
The book is nothing at all like the movie. If not for the characters having the same names and the heavy drug use age you could not tell the movie came from the book. I wouldn't recommend either.

I rather enjoyed The Rules of Attraction. Have the book around somewhere, never read it.
#31 on SC's Top 100 Mofos list!!