Tag: Lorenza Izzo

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Most reviews for this movie mention fun facts about Quentin Tarantino. And I will spend this time talking about an issue with that. Holy shit, can we all stop going crazy about how many movies he has directed? Let that be his obsession, not ours as reviewers.

Sure, he said he will retire after 10. But plenty of directors have said they would retire and then not.

Outside of a director’s first film, or their second film, I have never seen so many care about their total number after that point. By obsessing over it, we are building up Tarantino to be something bigger than what he really is, and let’s face it, he doesn’t need everyone else stroking his ego.

And with that, let’s talk about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, his 9th-ish directed movie.

The year is 1969. Vietnam sucks. Hippies exist. People are famous and rich and Nixon is around as well. We went to the goddamn moon!

But the plot starts in February and ends in August, so most of the film takes place without the moon landing at all. We are talking about aging star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), who was the lead in a Western show for many years in the 50’s and early 60’s, but now is stuck without many job offers and one off appearances in shows as a bad guy who always loses to the hero. It is also about Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), long time friend and stunt man of Dalton’s. Although he isn’t getting as much stunt work, he is still trying and really a personal assistant and friend to Dalton in order to make some money.

The movie is mainly about their struggles, but it is also a little bit about their neighbors, Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). It is also about a lot of hippies living in abandoned studios. It is about what people need to do to get famous, even if it means doing (shudder) European movies.

Also starring Al Pacino, Austin Butler, Bruce Dern, Clifton Collins Jr., Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Damon Herriman, Emile Hirsch, Harley Quinn Smith, Julia Butters, Kurt Russell, Lorenza Izzo, Luke Perry, Margaret Qualley, Mike Moh, Rafal Zawierucha, Scoot McNairy, and Timothy Olyphant.

Most of all business deals are done in bars with cigars.

Around 2006, when information was coming out about this future movie called Iron Man, people were abuzz with casting decisions. Who is playing who!? One of the most exciting aspects of the whole deal was of course Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury. And then not much else was said about him for a while.

Opening night while watching Iron Man, I remember being so excited the whole film to see SLJ as Fury, and getting to the end of the movie and being confused. “No! They said there would be a Nick Fury!” So as the credits started to roll, I told my friends to sit down. There must be something more in the credits. And lo and behold, at the end of the first MCU film, there was another scene, with Fury introducing the concept of Avengers. At that point this wasn’t established, for something at the end of the credits, I just knew it had to be. I needed my Nick Fury, damn it.

So how does this relate to Once Upon A Time in Hollywood? It relates perfectly I’ll have you know in a second, but let me give you some non spoilery analysis.

This movie is gorgeous. It meanders, yes. It could have been slimmed down. Pitt and DeCaprio give wonderful performances and I won’t forget about them soon. The cameos were fun. Robbie felt like a completely different person and did well at this carefree in the moment feeling actress.

So here are the spoilers for the rest of the review.

Did you know that Charles Manson was in this movie? Well, if you read movie articles, you should have known about it. Because about a year and a half ago, info for this movie started coming out and people were in an uproar that Tarantino was about to do a movie about Manson. There was a bit of backpedaling, like letting us know that he was in it but it isn’t about him, it just has him in it as a subplot or something.

And then I guess everyone forgot about it, because suddenly with this movie coming out, there is this strange aura of spoilers like its Avengers: Endgame. What the hell could really be a spoiler for a movie like this? In the theater, while talking to friends, I correctly guessed the ending of the film before hand as a joke, and uhh, it was correct. It was mostly a surprise due to just knowing what happened with Inglorious Bastards and knowing that Manson was in it. Shit, they end up making pretty obvious references to IB early in the film with a fictional Nazi burning movie.

Anyways, I think it is a mistake to try and make this whole thing a secret. I think it is okay to know that Manson murders plotline is involved, because if you don’t know anything about the real life Manson murders, a lot of the buildup won’t make as much sense. I mean, shit. This movie was actually supposed to come out on August 9th originally, which is the 50th anniversary of those murders. But it was pushed two weeks up in this schedule, maybe to make things less obvious, I have no idea.

I appreciate the level of detail that went into those scenes, using actual lines, character names, times, dates, and places. It is something he has thought a lot about, and it makes sense in QT’s “real world movie series” and still helps explain his “in universe film series” as a comparison.

If you are unfamiliar with that period, whether it is real events, the movies of the time, it will feel like a long drag and never really reach a high amount of payout. But as a movie about the place where movies were made, about an event that affected movies since that time, it has a lot of insight and actual information in a fictional film.

Also, DiCaprio and Pitt are really fun in this one.

3 out of 4.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Apparently The House with a Clock in its Walls was a book. I haven’t heard of it. The author really loves it, and made a whole bunch about these people. Studios be trying to get all pseudo famous books into movies, because the scripts are halfway made and have a following.

I don’t know it, nor do I care. This title is unforgivably awful. At no point does this scream out sexy, fun, or cool. It sounds god awful. This is about magic? This is the least magical sounding title of a movie ever.

How anyone saw this title and wanted to read the book is beyond me, but at no point is this one I would want to watch without being a reviewer. This is a film that I would skip on principle alone.

Why the fuck is this kid wearing goggles? To show he is whimsical?

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) just lots his parents, in some sort of car accident. Now he has to move to some place in Michigan, to live with his Uncle John (Jack Black), an eccentric man that his family never talked about and whom he never met. for many wonderful reasons. He lives in a mansion. It is weird, and decorated with Jack O’Lanterns.

And shit, inside the house things move around and are a bit spooky. Why? Well, his Uncle is reluctant to tell, so we have to let things be a mystery for a while. Maybe he is a murderer, and he will kill Louis one day.

There is also a purple loving neighbor, Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), no relation to the Florida vigilante, who is hanging around, also involve in some sort of shenanigans.

Alright, okay, they are warlocks and witches. Not bad ones, not necessarily good either, but certainly not evil. And Louis is showing promise so, shoot, he can be one too.

No, this is not The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This is the Warlock’s apprentice, damn it.

Also starring, Kyle MacLachlan, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Lorenzza Izzo, and Vanessa Anne Williams.

Old people
“Hey, we’re cool, we’re hip, we know magic!”

To be honest, it has been a good while since I fell asleep during a movie in the theaters. The last one was probably Deadpool 2, I know, how dare I do that thing.

Well, when a movie is boring, its boring. I know I missed full scenes, because they referred back to them later in the movie. “What cemetary scene? A blood what?” I think to myself. Oh well, not important. Because of how slow the film decided to start, really going hard after that old time asthetic, we had to watch character development scenes that really don’t move the story forward.

At no point would I say are the school plot points really useful for this story. People don’t like him because he is new. Normal stuff. People don’t like him for being a nerd? Hard to say. Really, they don’t like him for wearing goddamn goggles. Take that shit off your head. Which another character even points off, but nah, need those goggles on.

The school scenes are all just to set up future movies that probably won’t happen. Even the normal plot line of finding a friend didn’t work out, defying no tropes along the way.

The movie feels overly polished and CGI heavy when we get to the magic aspects. The ending isn’t fun or exciting. It mostly feels like convenient moments after convenient moments to get to what they eventually call an ending.

Eli Roth tried to do a family film. I shouldn’t be too surprised at the low ranking, since he has been disappointing me with his R rated endeavors recently as well.

1 out of 4.


Horror anthologies are all of the rage. I probably said that in my last review of a horror anthology, V/H/S: Viral, in October of 2014. Since then there hasn’t really been any horror anthologies. They died really quick.

There was another film called Southbound, but I missed it, so I will just have to wait for the DVD release or around Halloween. Whenever I remember it exists. Other than Southbound, the latest film to match this category is of course Holidays.

Holidays!? Yes, Holidays. A horror anthology with a common theme of several different holidays. Eight to be exact, with a bunch of random directors. That is a low enough number for me to talk about each one quickly!

So many holidays, you probably can’t even guess what this one is about!

For Valentine’s day, we have a little girl (Madeleine Coghlan), who gets teased by a different girl (Savannah Kennick) because she is a bitch. Our first girl also has a crush on her swimming coach (Rick Peters), who just wants her to be happy and not get picked on.

In St. Patrick’s Day, our Irish teacher (Ruth Bradley), wants to make a new girl (Isolt McCaffrey) smile, so that girl puts a curse on her to give birth to a snake.

For Easter, a little girl (Ava Acres) confuses the Bunny with Jesus, but is also told that no one has ever seen the Easter Bunny before for a pretty scary reason.

In Mother’s Day, we learn about a woman (Sophie Traub) who always gets pregnant after sex, regardless of birth control or condom usage. She is 100% fertile and it is ruining her life, so she goes to a middle of nowhere to people who claim that they can help her, when in reality, they want to just force her to stay.

On the other side for Father’s Day, we have a girl (Jocelin Donahue) who thought her dad (Michael Gross) was dead and gone since she was 11, but when she finds a voice recorder with a message on it, she has to go and investigate.

For Halloween (directed by Kevin Smith), we see a dude (Harley Morenstein) operating a small time cam girl operation, where the girls (Ashley Greene, Olivia Roush, Harley Quinn Smith) decide to get even and put him through the same abuse. You know, just worse.

On Christmas, a guy (Seth Green) goes to great lengths to get the latest VR tech for his son, but when the virtual reality starts to show his inner secrets, he and his wife (Clare Grant) have to cope with them.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve, a man (Andrew Bowen) has been killing a woman on each holiday that he has met while online dating, and now he will complete his collection (Lorenza Izzo). He hopes.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me.

I spent most of my alloted time just going over 1-2 sentence synopsis’ of each short. I figured I could do that with only eight segments, but I may have been wrong.

Like almost every single horror anthology before it, Holidays is definitely hit or miss. The entire thing is less than two hours so overall it is probably worth a late night viewing.

In particular, I liked the Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween shorts the most. New Year’s Eve told a decent story as well.

Christmas felt too short, St. Patrick’s Day was mostly weird, and Easter was also incredibly weird (but mostly just short).

Mother’s Day might have been the longest short story, I didn’t really keep track. It had an interesting premise, but I thought it dulled too much in the middle, despite the also pretty good ending.

Now I am ready for the Horror Anthologies to die. I think they are running out of ideas on how to package them together.

2 out of 4.

The Green Inferno

I have not seen a lot of actual horror films made by Eli Roth. He is supposed to be a big name, but when I looked at his directed list I had seen…well, zero. I thought he had directed Aftershock, but I was wrong about that.

But I am sure I will watch Knock Knock at some point! That is some sort of Thriller and it is on VOD exactly when it was supposed to be. Apparently The Green Inferno was not as lucky. Made in 2013, it was supposed to come out in 2014, but shit hit the fan, and it got delayed over a year. Which is why Eli Roth even has two movies coming out only roughly a month apart.

Speaking of intro small talk, the film was clearly inspired by Cannibal Holocaust. That is a film from the 1980’s which introduced found footage before it was even a thing. It was very gruesome, realistic, and basically the same plot of some white people heading to the rain forest to get eaten. In fact, people insisted at the time that it must have been a snuff film! The title itself was the name of the movie that was being made in Cannibal Holocaust.

Hair Mmm
“Ooooh hair, my favorite.”

Being an activist in college is one of the easiest things to do with your free time. Once you walk through a quad or a pit or a hallway, you will find dozens of protests happening all around you. Every day. Guaranteed. All you have to do is stand around, do a chant, and maybe (maybe!) hold a sign.

Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is just a bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen in NYC. She gets interested in the activism, but her roommate (Sky Ferreira) thinks the local group on campus is too crazy. They plan to go to Peru! There is a logging company who is illegally taking out trees and threatening to remove local tribes from their homes! They will dress up like loggers, tie themselves to trees and record their actions straight onto the internet. That should stop them from hurting them and get people to care about their group and hate on the one company. Sweet. That goes fine enough. Outside of spoiler stuff.

The real issue occurs when they drive to leave the jungle. Something goes wrong with their plane, killing half of the crew as it crash lands back into the jungle. This is where they are quickly found by the local friendly natives. Just kidding, they are all painted red and totally scary. They tranq those college students and capture them to bring them back to their village.

And guess what? You already know what. They eat people! Yay!

Now they have to figure out how to survive the tribe, run away, survive in the jungle, and get back to America as soon as they can. And guess what, again! They ruined their best chance of escape by making the logging company stop their illegal actions. Life is a bitch some times.

Starring Ramon Llao and Antonieta Pari as the main two village people. As for our other activists, we have Aaron Burns, Nicolas Martinez, Magda Apanowicz, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, and Ariel Levy as our leader.

Mmmm human
“What? Tribal mom got your tongue?”

I have heard some of Roth’s movies have been very graphic and hard to watch. Why the fuck would I ever want to go back and watch Hostel if that is true? The first major torture porn right, outside of some Saw movies? Well, The Green Inferno, if you didn’t already guess it, was very graphic and hard to watch.

I had to look away numerous times throughout the movie, my stomach unwilling to negotiate with the eye terrorists on the screen. Eating people it turns out can be pretty gross. Unfortunate, if everyone was simply just eaten, that’d be a boring and just gross film. They do a good job of keeping more of the deaths diverse so that it doesn’t get stagnant. Although watching that boy from the Spy Kid movies felt very weird for me.

As a horror film, it did its job in terms of grossing/creeping out the viewer. It definitely isn’t boring, outside of some of the earlier moments before they make it to the other country. It is super violent and should make you uncomfortable.

But it feels all very cheap at the same time. Overall the film lacks a lot of substance. It is trying to make a statement about social justice types, or America butting into things, or…something else. It just does it in a terrible way. “Don’t do this, or you will get eaten by the natives.” Cultural exploitation aside (which I do not care about), it isn’t a strong link and ruins any message it was trying to make.

For those who like gross stuff, this is your movie. If you want anything besides that, well…uh, not this movie then.

2 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Aftershock (2012)

Uh oh. This is the second movie I have reviewed with the name Aftershock. The first one, Aftershock, was an amazing Chinese drama film from 2010, over two hours long, on netflix, fantasticles. I could not say enough good things about it.

This one? Well, it was made 2 years later, and is a disaster/horror film, written by Eli Roth. You know, the Bear Jew on Inglourious Basterds. I mean, technically this one is foreign too, kind of. So maybe it will be just as good?

Maybe, just maybe, this one will make me cry?

Hooray, parties!

Apparently Chileans really love to party. That is why Gringo (Eli Roth) is hanging out with his two “Friends”. I actually don’t know why he knows them, but he came down from California to visit and live it up. Maybe even get laid. Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) are is guides around town. The only thing I really know about them is that Pollo is disgustingly rich, and has a famous dad, who is also rich yo. So they get all of the hookups.

Later, they are at a literal underground nightclub. Seriously underground, with all of the cool kids. There they meet up with some chicks they talked to earlier, some of which are siblings, models, and friends. Monica (Andrea Osvart), Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) and Kylie (Lorenza Izzo).

They try to split them up for hooking up, but drama blah, OH FUCK BIG ASS EARTHQUAKE. Shit starts falling everywhere, people dying under the rock, and lots of people getting trampled. Ariel is such a good guy, he helps a girl escape from the bar, but loses his hand in the process. His mother fucking hand!

It turns out, getting out of the club into the open isn’t actually too hard. Surviving on top, however. Shit. Looting, turned over buildings, transportation all but gone, no phone service, and the aftershocks which knock down even more shit. Is that a tsunami warning? You bet your ass it is! What is that? The prison in the area had its walls knocked down, so prisoners are running around town, killing and raping things? Shit. That is bad.

Good luck random group of unlikable people! Watch your holes.

Beard guys is the rich guy. He literally has everything going for him.

What can you say really about a disaster horror movie? Well, the only thing you can really hope for, is that it is entertaining enough, and people die in creative ways.

And boy do they!

So many people die, a variety of ways. Crashing infrastructure, fire, bullets, axe to the back, falling from long distances, and of course drowning and pounding.

I felt dirty writing that sentence.

Needless to say, the acting is kind of shit, and it takes maybe too long for the earthquake to occur, but once it does, it is kind of entertaining. Also pretty gross and graphic I am surprised how far they went. They made tons of allusions at the beginning of the film, and by golly, did they deliver them later.

So it gave me what I can hoped for. I wish the jokes they attempted worked out better. Maybe less subtitles too, but I am just lazy. It was decent for what it was going for, and entertaining just a tad bit. But I do work on earthquakes for my job, so maybe I just find the subject appealing.

2 out of 4.