Women Who Kill

Women Who Kill is another indie film I would have never seen if, let alone heard about, if it wasn’t for the Spirit Awards. This is only a cool thing to say if I ended up liking the film, and so hey, good news, yay Spirit Awards!

There are a lot of interesting things to say about the film, most of which I will say at the end, but probably one of the best aspects of the movie are how many women characters are in it. I would say there are only two guys who have speaking roles in the whole film that matter to the story in a slight amount. Basically this is a film directed, written by, produced by, and starring a woman, about women who like killer women.

For those of you who like women a lot, you will probably like Women Who Kill.

Podcasting
On the other hand, if you like women, maybe you don’t like them killing?

Lesbians. Podcasters. Stereotypes. Morgan (Ingrid Jungermann) and Jean (Ann Carr) run a podcast show called, Women Who Kill. It is specifically about serial killers, who happen to be women, and that is it. Because Morgan and Jean are fascinated by serial killers, want to talk about them, want to go super in depth about them, and people love hearing about them.

Unrealistically, they are sort of famous for this podcast and are recognized on the street by people who love their podcast. A rarity, given that podcast is rarely visual, but hey, lets run with this fantasy.

Morgan and Jean used to be lovers, but ended it after sometime and still maintained their working relationship. Jean has moved on and is dating a man now, but Morgan is alone. Heck, another of Morgan’s exes is currently about to get married too. Everyone is happy. And then Morgan meets Simone (Sheila Vand). At the local farm/store co-op that Morgan works at (more stereotypes). She is hot and into Morgan, which is great. They hit it off, but still, Simone is a bit weird and it is hard to figure out why.

That is, until Jean puts the idea in her head. Maybe Simone is a serial killer. Maybe she is the daughter of a serial killer and is continuing her mom’s path. And maybe she wants to kill Morgan, as an ultimate meta prize and is waiting for the opportunity to strike. Or it could all be coincidences!

Also starring Annette O’Toole, Deborah Rush, Grace Rex, and Tami Sagher.

Kiss
On the third hand, if you like women, maybe you do like them kissing other women.

Women Who Kill, early on, quickly found its stride with witty dialogue, funny moments, and likable different characters. It is fun to cheer for Morgan and Jean, making it harder to see their faults when they get to the points of real conflict.

Simone’s character definitely stands out in the world they created, seemingly always shining (or the opposite of shine in some instances), just to pop out. Most of the surroundings just seem dreary, but not Simone, so her entity begs questioning and adds to the mysteriousness.

I thought for sure I would end up loving this movie, but I thought the end started to unravel what started out as a fun clever story. It didn’t follow through too well, and honestly, sort of hated the ending.

But Women Who Kill is a movie that definitely celebrates women. Of the two men roles, one of them is playing a role of house husband who adds nothing to the film and is practically ignored, which is a hilarious role reversal of a serious problem in movies.

Still worth a watch, give these ladies some of your money.

3 out of 4.

Results

Results, aka one of he many films I would have never known to exist if not for the Spirit Awards.

Except unlike a lot of Spirit Award films, I was actually a bit excited to watch this one. I knew the main members of the cast! Hooray for familiarity! New things scare me.

It was also filmed in Austin, Texas, which I learned. This boring intro brought to you by the vast expanse of Texas, nothingness.

Laugh
This is basically the only picture that exists for this film.

Power 4 Life is your average small gym in a large city. They have a staff of energetic fitness people, teaching classes and being all personal and trainer-y. It is run by Trevor (Guy Pearce), who is Australian or New Zealander. He has big dreams of one day expanding the business and having a bigger studio.

His best physical trainer is Kat (Cobie Smulders), who always gets those results and is only a bitch to low-lifes who don’t pay. Because she needs more money and needs more clients. Also sometimes Kat and Trevor have sex.

Trevor is reluctant to give Kat a new client, a weird rich dude named Danny (Kevin Corrigan), because he is…well weird. He just throws his money away, going through some shit, so he wants to look better.

Sure enough, he gets weird about it all, and Kat doesn’t really help the case, but he falls in love with her. Strangely enough, this issue only takes us really early through the film. It goes a lot of places, but it is all tied to the strange relationship between Trevor and Kat.

Also Giovanni Ribisi is a lawyer in this movie. Woo lawyers.

Work
The first time anyone has ever written “Woo lawyers” I bet.

Results is like a true indie movie. Sure it has some stars, but it like three genres. Not a full comedy. Not a full drama. Not a full romance. And it is hard to describe without saying everything that happens.

Unfortunately, the movie goes at a slower pace than most people would expect. There are some great scenes that I love. A great dinner scene. Some twists. Some weird shit. But the time in between them is not to be desired.

The film isn’t even overly long. A respectable 1:45, but I can imagine it getting to the point that much quicker. If it was an easy film to watch, it wouldn’t be an indie I guess.

Pearce was good in this movie, although it could have just been me getting lost in his accent and enthusiasm. Smulders didn’t deliver on the emotional scale, she seemed to be pretty stoic outside of one scene. Corrigan has never looked worse, appearance wise, but I guess that was the point.

An okay romance, a shitty drama, and an okay comedy.

2 out of 4.

Black Friday

Alright, I am kind of cheating here. Day 4 of Blackweek means documentary day, and well the documentary day is always the hardest to fit the theme. And I clearly reviewed Blackfish about two years early because it was the perfect fit for this moment. And a documentary about The Black Panthers isn’t out yet.

So no, I am stuck with Black Friday. A 35 or so minute documentary done by an indie lady about shopping. So a pretty short one, which makes me feel like I am cheating. Is this really an appropriate time investment for anyone? Nah. It is taking me more time to write this small review than it took to watch the short thing.

This documentary is brought to us by Cora Berchem, someone who is on a lot of tech crews, and her first shot at directing something. It is on Vimeo. I watched it here. You know, just so you know it is real.

bfd
Well, glad we have that descriptor of one of our interviewees. Very helpful!

Here is what the doc covers. Very brief history on the term Black Friday. Why it is good for business/the economy. And then it has a whole bunch of people getting interviewed, mostly people from the NY/NJ area. Definitely doesn’t branch off there.

These people are literally just complete randos. Maybe all friends or coworkers of the director, I don’t know. Maybe one person was qualified to really talk about anything in this documentary outside of personal opinions and experiences with the holiday.

And that is about it. It is literally just a few people spouting mostly just their opinions on what they like or don’t like about Black Friday shopping, the traditions. Documentary over.

Fuck, what a waste of time. I don’t know what I expected from such an indie first time effort. But I figured it would try to make a point about…something. Something at all. Oh well. Let’s call this a filler review for a not real thing.

0 out of 4.

The Babadook

Despite Halloween being a thing weeks ago, horror movies are still coming out and existing. I gave horror movies a whole week! What gives?

Apparently I have to see horror movies outside of October too, which is dumb. Wouldn’t it be nice if every month had a genre theme? December would be my favorite month, because it clearly would belong to Musicals. June would be animated musicals.

That is all nonsense. I am now going to talk about The Babadook, an indie movie outside of Australia with a budget that all went towards making the creature. That’s right, it’s a creature movie.

Book
And a movie involving books. How scary!

This is a simple story about a mother and her child. You see, Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother, because en route to the hospital to give birth they got into a car accident and the husband didn’t make it. Kind of a bad thing to happen on a day of life.

So life has been rough. She works at a nursing home, which pays enough for them to get by, although they aren’t rolling in the dough. And her son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), he is a weird one. My guess is some sort of autism, but they never really say anything. He is definitely a loner, likes to yell, has behavioral problems in school. He pretends he sees monsters and wants to fight them, so he builds crude imaginative weapons to fight the invisible ghouls.

Well, Amelia likes to read to her son before bed. And today he wants to hear “Mister Babadook,” a pop-up book she doesn’t remember getting for him. Well, it is really odd and eerie, talking of a boogie man that once you know of its existence, will never lead, and it freaks the boy out.

And guess what the book unleashes. Guess. Come on. Guess. You probably couldn’t even tell.

Also with Barbara West and Daniel Henshall. They are important to the story. I guess.

Scream
Yeah, this picture alone just looks like autism to me.

This is not your typical current horror movie. It doesn’t really feature jump scares, it features a unique new creature, and it is pretty frightening at times. Aka, what you want in a horror movie!

Many different aspects of this film are unsettling, including just how Amelia/Samuel look throughout the film. Clearly the kid is creepy, with those big popping eyes and pale skin. The mom does a great job too, always slightly disheveled, conveying the emotions of someone who just can’t take it anymore. Someone who thinks they are literally going insane.

It was eerie and great. And hell, The Babadook didn’t even look that silly. It had a clear lower budget feel to it, but based on the animated from the books, from the boogieman stories and from nightmares in general, the style really worked for me. Even the creepy noises and voice he made seemed great.

The Babadook is on video on demand, and you most likely won’t see it in theaters anytime soon. But if you want a relatively unique and decent horror, this is one of the better recent ones to check. The theaters/Hollywood have been failing us over October, so this might be your best bet.

3 out of 4.

Happy Christmas

Shit. I should have saved this movie for actual Christmas. Jeez. What is wrong with me? I blew it, clearly.

Happy Christmas is an indie movie, so of course it makes sense to come out on July 25th, which I guess is the “Christmas In July” day, but I don’t get that concept at all.

Either way, we are going to have a movie about Christmas now, damn it. I don’t care what holidays are nearby.

Family
But I hope the baby is the main character. Like Santa. Santa is a baby right?

Jenny (Anna Kendrick) is just a girl, standing in front of her brother, asking for a home. She is having some troubles in her life, but she just needs a break from it all. Thankfully Kevin (Mark Webber) has room in his house for her to crash. His wife, Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) is a novelist, but right now she is taking a break to be a stay at home mom because they have a baby! Yay babies!

And yay Jenny in their house. That means automatic free babysitter. Kind of hard to accept free rent without helping out.

But just one night in, Jenny gets blackout drunk and embarrasses her good friend (Lena Dunham), requiring the help of her brother late at night to get her. Some reliable baby sitter, huh?

Well, these old coogies can’t seem to accept her young hip ways and she finds herself constantly disappointing them, despite trying her best. And hey! She wants to help Kelly get back on the writing thing.

But seriously. Can she just not fuck up once? Maybe by Christmas? Or will she just be fucking the babysitter? (Joe Swanberg)

Hangover
She ate all of those pretzel bites the night before. What. A. Night.

Quintessential indie film. Some comedic moments, a lot more dramatic ones, everything really close to reality, very few actors, and overall, just okay.

I mean, there are truly fantastic indie movies out there. This year we were able to get Obvious Child and Locke. After watching this film I was left wondering “Is that it?

I guess with their lower budget they just want to tell a simple story, but a lot of times I am not left wanting more just because it was such a great story and I am super invested in the characters. It is more me wondering why any of it even mattered?

Oooh, a group of people learned to accept each other by the end. And there was awkward moments. (Awkward moments are key to indie movies).

As I already said, Happy Christmas was okay, but borderline on boring and disliked. So a low 2, if you will. You can tell my indifference, as I couldn’t even write 500 words about this one.

2 out of 4.

Enemy

Enemies are quite annoying. Everyone probably has a few. I know I have several, including: The Morlocks, Jafar, Tropical Flavored skittles. The list just goes on and on and on.

But what if your enemy was yourself? I have heard that if your enemy is yourself, it is often your worst enemy. That has got to suck. The film Enemy is actually based on that concept!

Actually, it is based on a novel, The Double. It is definitely not based on the movie The Double that came out this year, also dealing with doppelgangers, and it most certainly has nothing to do with the movie The Double from a few years ago.

Huh. Maybe The Double (2014 film) is a twisted doppelganger of The Double (Book) and it prevented Enemy from being a regular doppelganger of The Double (book). The Double (2014 film) stole Enemies identity!

Double
My head hurts. Oooh beards!

Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is your average regular college professor. He teaches about totalitarianism and dictators! A theme that may slightly be relevant to the movie. He lives with his girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent) and she thinks he is a cheating fool. He has been weird lately and keeping secrets and making secret phone calls.

Why? Because Adam has made a relevation. After watching a movie recommended by a coworker, he noticed a bellhop in the background. And that bellhop looked just like him. Turns out this Anthony Claire (Jake Gyllenhaal) has only been in a few pictures, all side who gives a shit roles, but by golly, he looks just like him. After a lot of sleuthing Adam is able to set up a meeting with Anthony.

Shit. Is. Bananas.

Well, when someone seems to be an exact replica of you with a different personality, who also knows where you live and who you interact with, it is pretty easy to get paranoid. Anthony himself has a pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon) and is in a committed relationship.

What can either of these gentlemen gain from this doppelmagic and more importantly, what can they lose?

Stalker
It is hard to stalk someone when you don’t know which one is your husband.

Reading up on an analysis of the film and book after I watched the movie, there was apparently a lot that went over my head. Intellectual smart person stuff that might require reading or degrees in movie theory to get. And don’t worry, i am not letting that fact get affect my view. I just had a recurring “what the fuck, spiders?” thought going through my head throughout the movie. I’d say its a small enough part to get by.

Enemy is incredibly well acted and Jake G is showing off over the last few years a great side to himself. With this, Prisoners, End of Watch, I’d almost be willing to watch most anything with him as a main actor in it. Dude figured it out and it was good.

Enemy is not a quick movie and one that requires you to pay attention. It has a small number of important characters in it and really tries hard to drive the appropriate emotions through silence. However, the film is also really friggan yellow. And that just in general bugs the crap out of me. Over filtering.

I hope another film comes out with a similar plot to make more duplication jokes. Really.

3 out of 4.

Under The Skin

Under The Skin is a movie that was on a lot of people’s radars. Why? Well, because a lot of people are perverts.

Because the main star of the movie is naked in this movie, and arguably a lot of people have wanted to see that. First time ever, and to those who wanted to see it just for the titties, here is some advice: Don’t.

Under The Skin is a very artistic and carefully planned film. It is eerie, and a bit bizarre, almost in attempt to punish those who would watch this movie for that one reason. The nakedness is definitely in most ways non-sexual. You will have to get your jimmies off some other way.

Liquid
Although that nondescript black liquid is kind of arousing.

Somewhere in Great Britain, let’s say Scotland, some shit is going down. An Alien is on our planet.

That alien is in the form of Scarlett Johansson. Not actually the actress, just a random female in Scotland. This alien feels they are the epitome of beauty.

And now she is on earth. To study.

And uhh, yeah, that’s all I can really say. I can’t even tag really any other characters, because no one has a name, not even Scarlett. There are other characters too, some quite mysterious, but it is really hard to describe the movie other than that.

Scar
Oh yeah. And everyone is blurry. That is a fact.

Did I mention this movie was artsy? There isn’t actually a ton of dialogue in this movie, just once in awhile. Sure, people converse, don’t worry, but there is a lot of silence and music instead of interactions. After all, a lot of the time people are also alone. Talking to themselves would be weird

This movie is also incredibly uncomfortable. There are some twisted scenes that happen in this movie. Things that I wouldn’t want to describe, least the desired effect is ruined on you.

It is definitely a smart movie in that it doesn’t feel the need to explain, well, anything really. A lot of it could be open to interpretation and some of it is a bit beyond my own scope.

It is also, despite a well crafted indie movie that conveyed the messages the director wanted to convey, a movie I never want to watch again. Ever, really. It had some disturbing elements, but that is not the main reason I want to see it never again. I also think that knowing everything that happens in the film might take away from future experiences.

So to me this film is a one and done type of affair. Should you watch it? Probably, eventually, when you think you are ready. I just don’t think there’d be a reason for me to buy it because it would never get opened after the fact. Shrug. Oh well, I just need a few more explosions I guess (that’s a joke).

2 out of 4.

Obvious Child

I knew something was up when I went to my screening of Obvious Child. Two things were of note.

One, I was invited to a free screening of a film, that technically was already released in theaters the week before. Most of the time free screenings are before they are out, to build hype and stuff, but this could just be an indie movie thing.

Two, the tickets I had were sponsored and given out by a Pro-Choice group. Huh. That is an oddly specific group to sponsor a show time. I guess…this movie…is about abortion?

That isn’t an issue or something. But it is basically all I knew about the movie going into it. Like Citizen Ruth.

Stand Up
Obviously.

This movie is about a few months in the life of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate). She is a stand up comic, works at a hipster book shop in NYC, and isn’t doing too much with her life. Just telling jokes about how it is. Well, her boyfriend doesn’t like this path and doesn’t like to be talked about in front of strangers. So he breaks up with her. And then she finds out her book store that she works at is closing.

So she does what anyone would do, get really drunk and avoid her problems. If by avoid her problems, I mean talk about it on a stage, of course. Either way. She sexes up a guy, Max (Jake Lacy) who is very nice, and apparently the rubber wasn’t used. She gets pregnant, has a few panic attacks to add to her problems, and wants an abortion. The abortion isn’t even the scary part. It is the telling of her mom (Polly Draper) and getting the money together when she is already losing her jobs. At least she has friends (Gaby Hoffman, Gabe Liedman) for support.

But why does that fucker Max have to be such a nice guy?

Richard Kind is in here as her dad and David Cross as an old friend.

Box
I think this scene is a metaphor for birth. But I think that about all boxes.

The main selling point for Obvious Child is its realness, and it really excels at that point. Really.

Everything in this story feels like something that could actually happen. That is where it gets all of is charm and humor from. The humor is pretty funny, both in a “ha ha funny” way, and a “I am uncomfortable by their awkwardness” kind of way.

And really, there isn’t much more to say about it? The film is funny and incredibly awkward. It is about abortion, but doesn’t make it a big life changing event, just turns it into something that has to happen. And hey, it involves that guy who joined The Office for its final season, so that was cool too.

3 out of 4.

Best Man Down

I can’t remember which movie it was, but I only know about Best Man Down by watching some other shitty indie movie.

It was a trailer before it (because some times I am too lazy to skip them) and the plot just seemed really intriguing to me. I was even more surprised to find that it wasn’t yet out on DVD and I’d have to wait to see a movie. Those dicks.

Either way, it has been awhile since I have loved a random indie straight to DVD movie, so the odds are not forever in its favor.

He is up here
This would be an example of Best Man Up.

Hooray weddings!

We are gathered here today to celebrate the matrimony of Scott (Justin Long) and Kristin (Jess Weixler). About time, amirite?

Lumpy (Tyler Labine), good friend of Scott, is his best man and very very excited about the whole thing. He goes crazy all night, drinking booze, living it up, being a bit annoying. Well, next morning, he dies. What the fuck? Didn’t see that coming I bet.

See, now Scott and Kristin have a huge problem. (Technically, Lumpy has the biggest problem). Now their happy day will forever be remembered as also the day Lumpy died. They will have to cancel their honeymoon, and put on a funeral. They aren’t selfish people, these are just facts. But it turns out that Scott might not have been keeping up to date with what exactly Lumpy had been up to. He lost his job, and dropped out of school, but no one is actually sure why.

He also has a strange relationship with a high school student, Ramsey (Addison Timlin) up north, who no one knew about. She has her own problems, with a whore-ish mother (Frances O’Connor) who is dating a junkie.

Ohhh, secrets, what fun!

Missing Best Man
Well shit, now the Best Man is neither up nor down, he’s just fucking missing.

Yeah, so, strangely enough, I really liked this movie. I had a bigger emotional attachment to it than I would have expected. Shit. Having someone die at your wedding? That is all sorts of fucked up.

The movie felt pretty real too, both in Lumpy’s side story, learning about the last year of his life, and the newly married couple’s reaction to the events. A lot of powerful lines when I think back to them, I was going to type some quotes but A) out of direct context, they lose their power and B) no one probably gives a shit.

It wasn’t a long look into the lives of the main characters, but it was enough to really know how they valued friendships and how their lives would change from the event.

It had some humerous moments too, but it is definitely far more on the drama sides of things. I will say the funeral uppercutted me emotionally as well, if you know what I mean, where a nice speech was given by Addison Timlin’s character, and I really like how it wrapped up everything at the end.

So yeah, surprisingly nice indie movie. Yay.

3 out of 4.

Touchy Feely

Actor names can be hard to remember. In particular, Ellen Page is somehow a name that can constantly leave my memory. She is just Juno to me. Why would she dare have a different name than Juno?

I have talked before about watching a movie, thinking Ellen Page was in it, and then bam, its actually Juno Temple and I am not a smart man.

SO, when I saw Touchy Feely, really the only reason I decided to watch it as fast as I did was because Ellen Page was in it. A sort of redemption for my past dumb self. This may be one of the silliest intros I have done for a movie.

Hands
Don’t blame me, blame my very blurry hands.

As you may have guessed, this is a movie about touching. Kind of sexy, right?

Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a successful massage therapist, so she touches people a lot. She believes in all that energy stuff to go with it, taught to her by her friend mentor Bronwyn (Allison Janney). She is a free, fun loving spirit.

Her brother, Paul (Josh Pais, who voiced Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…what?!), is a dentist at a failing clinic. His daughter, Jenny (Page) is his main assistant. But he is uptight and super serious.

The good news for Paul, is after Jenny brings a friend over for a free cleaning, somehow Paul is able to heal a condition he has. Just with a regular cleaning. Word gets out about Paul and his magical touch, and suddenly business is booming, despite no guarantees that he will fix anyone.

The bad news for Abby, is that somehow she has gained an aversion to bodily contact. It suddenly sickens her for any skin on skin contact. Not only is that extremely bad for her business, but also puts a strain on her relationships with friends and lovers.

Also starring Ron Livingston and Scoot McNairy.

Table
I am now betting they did all these hands scenes on purpose. I see you, film maker.

Touchy Feely has a decent story, but its extreme “indie-ness” kind of ruins the story for me. Indie meaning independent or low budget release, which stereotypically means the movie will move a lot slower and let the fantastic acting carry it through. This movie is incredibly slow, with a lot of silent and thought provoking scenes. Or at least, they are meant to be thought provoking.

I really like the idea of the switch of luck for these two, and the dentist part I find even more bizarre than the massage therapist part. But the rest of the movie is just blah to me.

If only I could talk more about it, but I already ran out of things to say. This movie moves far too slow, with not enough substance, for me to really care. Oh well. Another day, another movie.

1 out of 4.

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