Simon’s Bullshit

The Gift (2015)
Dir: Joel Edgerton

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When Joel Edgerton sat down and made this film did he literally just think “Hmm….how random and absurd could one plot twist be? Let’s find something a bit far fetched, roll with that for a bit, and then, right at the end… lets just fuck shit up completely”

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Don’t get me wrong, I love and have a lot of time for Joel. To begin with I think he’s pretty hot (normally…definitely NOT in this). Not that its a prerequisite to what makes a good film (it helps), he’s also an incredible actor, and credit where it’s due, it’s actually a very well written movie.

But man did this escalate…quickly.

Bless Robyn

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Robyn, “the wife”, is so painfully awkward, and middle class that watching her glazed and slightly delayed interactions on screen was a disclaimer in itself. Robyn had the misfortune of marrying an absolute douchebag (spoiler alert) which she miraculously failed to spot for years, and now she just exists, goes jogging and just exists. You desperately wish she would grow some balls and leave her narcisstic excuse for a spouse, (you grow to wish, Simon tricked me at the start too, sneaky fuck), but obviously she doesn’t. She just sits and wonders what having a kid would be like, and jogs, and drinks electrolyte water and jogs some more. All the while you sit there in frustration knowing that if she did just leave him, she would never have to deal with any of his shit ever again. Which essentially is what this film is about…Simons bullshit.

Ladies be carefully who you marry, run a full CRB check, speak to some people he went to school with, contact his doctor, contact his priest, speak to the local authorities DO YOUR DAMN RESEARCH or you’ll end up with a nasty piece of shit like Simon. This isn’t even a horror movie about a stalker, it’s a cautionary tale about marrying an arsehole.  Unfortunately for poor Robyn, she did marry an arsehole, and had to forever live with his unfinished business ruining her otherwise placid existence.

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When Gordo turns up (Joel Edgerton),  Simon acts like he doesn’t know him; acts like he’s some creep from school who’s somehow obsessed with him. For about half an hour I was like “Ok, maybe this guy is just a recluse who’s into forced friendships”, but then it slowly dawns one you that the situation is making Simon feel way too angry for it to be “some dude”.  Then you wonder WHY Simon would entertain it. Here’s a guy you went to school with, claim you barely know, and yet here you are again having another passive aggressive dinner with him. What’s up Si? got something you wanna share?

Now I’m starting to worry less about Gordo (let’s face it psychos are everywhere), and more about Simon and why he’s being mad shady. At this point I’m getting a little angry because I know I’m being lied to and I don’t like it.

And I was right.

Gordo stops being the issue, and shady husbands do. Although this film does top the OTT factor in more ways than one, (bringing in complex storylines that date back to prom night 1925), the message is clear.

Sometimes the bad guy, isn’t really the bad guy. He’s just the messenger.

oh and heres a pic of what Joel Edgerton really looks like…

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Lobster Claw

The Lobster (2015)
Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos

I’ve been banging on about this film for weeks because it’s very rare I get REALLY excited about something, and basically force everyone around me to watch it like a woman possessed.

“Have you seen it yet?” I hissed at my colleagues this morning. I could actually SEE their thought process as they politely tried to tell me to fuck off. NO WE HAVEN’T SEEN THAT WEIRD FILM ABOUT SINGLE PEOPLE BEING TURNED INTO ANIMALS BECAUSE WE’RE NOT ALL PSYCHOPATHS LIKE YOU.

Next it will be be that Josef Fritzel film (which no doubt I’ll probably really enjoy), but luckily I haven’t gotten round to that yet so you’ll just have to hear about how groundbreaking i thought this was instead.

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The premise, of what is essentially a very simple film, is life in a horrifying modern dystopia, which enforces  traditional values down all their citizens throat in the most bizarre fashion.

Citizens of “The City” are punished by law for failing to be part of a couple. There is a time limit on how long you’re “allowed” to be single, and once you have failed to find a partner on your own, you are then forced to check into a hotel where you have forty five days to find someone. Think very extreme version of “take me out” meets Wuthering Heights. Thats the vibe.

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The hotel itself is similar to a care home or even a school, in its regimented, clinical and militant approach to matching up its guests. The process is very mathematical, practical and unbelievably depressing. Should you, the single man or woman, fail to find someone within the forty five day time frame you are turned into an animal of your choice (yes, animal), and sent into the woods to live the rest of your life as the waste of air that society now deems you. No pressure.

The powers that be (in this weird modern world) essentially require you to fulfil your basic human duty to find companionship and live as part of a couple. If you don’t, you basically die being left to fend for yourself.

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Now, I really enjoyed this, even though hands down… bleak as fuck. Bleak, as i often try and explain, is actually good sometimes; it’s often required to balance out all Netflix originals, Taylor Swift songs and American Idol auditions constantly rammed down our throats. It’s like a much needed reflection of the shit world we live in, that we should never really forget.

Selling it?

ok, so you have to remember that this is a surrealist film… ACTUALLY a surrealist film, not just like a bit of an odd movie. For starters Colin Farel isn’t his usually sexy self; he’s weedy, asexual and a bit pathetic. He sports a creepy paedo tash and awkwardly fumbles everywhere, making him kind of unbearable to watch. The dialogue and interactions between the characters is eerily calm, unnatural and bizarre, and the resounding oddness of the whole situation is given to the viewer in a very “matter of fact” way which makes it all the more bizarre. If this film were an elephant in a room it would be a florescent elephant in a basement flat at 2am.

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The setting is familiar, there’s nothing Sci fi or other worldly about the aesthetic whatsoever. In fact the aesthetic is actually very dreary and grey. Nothing futuristic, no flo mo technology, no flying, no hovercrafts.

I won’t ruin it by telling you anything else apart from the fact that it’s probably one of the most chilling films I’ve seen in recent years. There are scenes which made me actually wince, and considering I wrote my uni thesis on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it’s pretty hard to make me wince.

Highly recommend

Sara

Black Mess

Black Mass (2015)
Dir: Scott Cooper

Slightly off topic, (mainly because there aren’t enough horror movies around to warrant an hour of thought), I’ve opted for Johnny Depp horrifying us all with his rotton front tooth and deeply dehydrated skin.

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Theres been more gangster biopics lately then we’ve had in a while. After Legend I think we were all ready for a further exploration into the criminal mind, Depp hasn’t done anything that hasn’t involved LSD or chocolate since Donnie Brasco, so many have really been looking forward to it.

The film tells the tale of one of the FBIs most wanted men, the infamous Whitey Bulger leader of Boston Mob “the winter hill” gang. The almost unrecognisable Depp plays a chilling Bulger and really gets into his role. Lots of killing, teaching people lessons, burying bodies under bridges, highly loaded yet ambiguous gangster threats (please refer to scene at the dinner table, which has forever changed my opinion on soy sauce and garlic powder), the usual. Apparently the purpose of the film was to chronicle the rise of Whitey Bulger and his relationship with the FBI. Sadly what we were presented with (sorry Guardian film page) was a flimsy script, and a disjointed picture of how and why Bulger goes from small time criminal to FBIs most wanted.

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We see so much of Bulger being a total douche, without really understanding what actually makes this guy tick, that this lack of context ends up creating a widening bridge between him and the viewer as we can never truly immerse ourselves in his world. Allegedly the real Whitey Bulger also didnt care, so much so that he refused to cooperate with Depp et al regarding characterisation; this was highly apparent in the end product.

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So much revolved Bulger’s relationship with FBI agent Johnny Connelly, that it almost felt like “Stand by Me”. This relationship alone should have been the focus of the film, rather than trying to cram in 30 years of activity. No other characters really mattered, it starts with a promising intro and then solely becomes about Bulger and Connelly, and essentially how obsessed Connelly was in pleasing him. Everything and everyone else just felt like they were there for decoration.

Why even BOTHER with any female characters? They literally serve no purpose to the plot, literally zero. Bulger’s wife? Pointless fifteen minutes of airtime. Why cast such a great actress if you’re just going to give her a  one minute scene in a hospital and never explain where she went afterwards?

In fact where do any of the women go? Are there any women in Boston in the 1970s? What the hell happened to Connelly’s wife? Did she get over Bulger’s psycho medical speech in her house? Did she buy another pair of satin flares? Does she leave Boston? I really would’ve liked a resolve to that situation.

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Essentially my primary beef with this film is the utter disinterest in developing any of the other characters. Take Benedict Cumberpatch for example (I wish this was the start of a sherlock joke), he played a powerful political figure, whose brother was a mob kingpin, THAT SHIT IS INTERESTING GODDAMIT!! Couldn’t we perhaps have a bit more development there? So there was absolutely no issues with the fact that this was a real situation? It was skimmed over at best, which was super infuriating and yet again a reflection of a poor script. Soz.

Having no emotional involvement with anyone in the film whatsoever does also make a film feel considerably longer than it should. Just a casual FYI.

Johnny Depp, aside from looking tired,  doesn’t do enough with the complexity of Bulger’s character to make me care. His mannerisms, fucked vibe in general, yes. Why this guy is so fucked up? no idea. Take Ray Liotta and his portrayal of Henry Hill; he brings me in, involves me in his world, and therefore I get him, appreciating his intentions and actually feeling bad for him when things start to unravel in his life.

This guy Bulger…don’t get it, I don’t understand why that whole bit with his wife and kid was put in, I don’t get how and why he got into organised crime, I don’t hate him enough to feel sickened by what he does, don’t like him enough to feel pity for him.

The one thing that entertained me more than it should was John Connolly. Joel Edgerton plays him so brilliantly as a FBI wannabe mobster that it makes you recoil. He’s that guy in college who does shit to impressive the popular crew, it’s pretty painful to watch. He goes out of his way for Bulger in a way which is confusing and seems to have very little gain (aside from financial) for him. Subsequently he ends up doing one of the longest sentences out of anyone, which makes it all the more pitiful.

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Watch it for the violence and sexy accents.

Don’t watch it if you’re tired 

You will catch Chlamydia and you will die….

dir: David Robert Mitchell (2015)

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

I wanna start by stating that this is a proper film, and I mean a PROPER film. It’s an art house, wide angles, beautiful cinematography, amazing acting, ‘nod to David Cronenberg’ kinda film.

Def not one for the Netflix and chill.

Had to get that out of the way so you can understand the nature of what we’re dealing with because I, the viewer, wasn’t quite sure of what to expect so i feel its my duty to clarify a few things before you casually stick this one on waiting for your Dominoes.

For starters it’s an indie-flick, so the translation of that means its slow. If you have the attention span of a goldfish (c’est moi), you may find it a struggle to get into this. Now this isn’t necessarily a reflection of the film; its more a reflection of you and the vacuous brain you now have that is saturated with snapchat and candy crush and physically can’t focus on anything for more that five mins without expecting a chainsaw and multiple deaths.

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So yes. I did struggle towards the start.

It was time to put my phone under my pillow and really focus, on this cinematic horror masterpiece, which so many reviewers have jizzed their pants about.

I’ll begin by outright saying that it is visually incredible. hands down; the film is gorgeous.

An ambiance is created from the get go which I really noticed, and you will to. Everything is rich, and symmetrical and details are emphasized, and it’s really really beautiful.

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Also you don’t really get a clear idea of what era its meant to be set in, which confuses you a bit but kinda gives it that timeless, retro feel. This situation could literally happen to any teenager at any time in history, so even if you add or strip away all of today’s technology (which Mitchell smartly did…with the exception of a random clam shaped kindle), the outcome will remain the same. In various interviews Mitchell mentions an homage to the 80’s classics, so having the time-frame purposely ambiguous does that very smartly without making it feel forced or dated.

Ok so the movie is basically about an STI that kills you.

That’s it. That’s the plot.

It’s not necessarily a ‘cautionary tale’ (again, not one for the Netflix and chill), its more of a modern twist on the ‘curse you pass on’. The issue wasn’t so much unprotected sex, or sex with strangers, or any of those really obvious things they do in films to make you never want to have sex with another human ever again in your life (that would be the movie ‘Kids’ in case you are interested), it came across as more of a ‘pass it on’ curse. Sex was just the medium used of passing it on, as opposed to like a VHS tape or a letter, or any of the other things we’re more accustomed with.

Also, it does play on fears that teenagers have, so yes, sex was also a very appropriate medium for the curse. Its bad enough that you’re going through adolescent bullshit, then you meet someone you like, and you have sex with them, and next thing you know you wake up tied to a wheelchair being told you have a shape shifting STD that’s literally coming to kill you.

pretty heavy shit for a Friday night.

The premise is not new, the execution was, which makes this film very interesting to watch as a horror fan. It’s not as jumpy or gory, or decapitate-y as anything you may be used to, but its far from a comfortable watch and I am totally cool with that.

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My one main issue with it, which was also Quentin Tarantino’s issue with it (great minds), is that it doesn’t follow its own mythology. So ‘It’ is an entity that takes the physical appearance of a variety of things (man, woman, child, cat…whatever), and literally follows you (hence title) until it gets to you and kills you. Once you become accustomed to what ‘it’ is, as a carrier of this disease, you know very quickly when to exit a building, a house, leave a cinema or just jump in a car and drive.

HENCE WHY a few things didn’t add up; such as the woman in the cinema (which as a carrier, the dude would’ve know that she was not a casual woman in a floral dress), or the fact that shooting ‘It’ didn’t really work at the beach, but then it did at the pool. Also the fact that ‘It’ starts chucking stuff and hitting people? So does that mean it is able to affect people who don’t carry the disease or what? Like…a few inconsistencies with how ‘it’ functions.

And then the ending….

All in all a great film. If you’re not a horror fan, but you just want a really good film to stare at for 94 mins, this is also appropriate.